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Importance of right diet and nutrition for teenage girls

Luke Coutinho

Luke Coutinho
20 April 2020

This article is authored by Luke Coutinho. Luke is a globally renowned and award winning Holistic Lifestyle Coach in the field of Integrative Medicine.

While talking about the integral role of nutrition for teens’ growth - both boys and girls - it’s meaningful to take into account the importance of diet and nutrition, especially girls, at this age. As the menstrual cycle is one of the fundamental and natural processes that generously takes place in girls’ bodies. The diet and the menstrual cycle share a complementary relation and whatever the diet is taken during this time does have an impact on the cycle. Let’s talk about the nutrition that helps in the menstrual cycle.

Nutrition for a healthy menstrual cycle:

Iron and folic acid-rich foods: Because haemoglobin is a part of blood and a lot of it is lost during the menstrual cycle, a deficiency of that might also cause symptoms like headache, fatigue and weakness. It is, thus, good to take iron-rich foods like Moringa, green leafy vegetables, cumin seeds, beetroot, garden cress seeds and dates.


unhealthy relatioship

Let’s talk about Moringa with its umpteen benefits during the menstrual cycle. A lot of South Indian homes witness its use it - the drumsticks in Sambar and other vegetable preparations. However, not a lot of them focus on the power of nutrients in the leaves that can help with anaemia, immunity, the health of malnourished teens and young girls - not just in rural areas but in urban cities as well. It is nature's multivitamin. Moringa powder is rich in vitamin A and zinc that encourages hair to grow and keep it in good condition. In addition, moringa powder is rich in B vitamins, C and E, biotin, and inositol that provide nutrients to help improve scalp circulation and maintaining capillaries that carry blood to the follicles

Good fats: Good fats help balance the hormonal ups and downs that place during the menstrual cycle. It also helps increase the satiety factor in meals thereby reducing changes of craving and PMS mood swings that are common during menstrual cycle. Consuming nuts, seeds, coconut oil, ghee will allow their bodies to easily boost calories and feel energetic.

Magnesium: It helps in the relaxing of muscles and muscle contraction. It can calm down the nervous system that eventually reduces anxiety. With less stress, the menstrual cycle becomes positive and healthy for teens. Consuming nuts, seeds, leafy greens and cacao can be of big help.

At the end here are some remedies for a pain-free menstrual cycle:

Cacao tea: Cacao contains a rich amount of magnesium and possibly the best food to consume during menstrual cramps as it helps muscles relax.

Jaggery + sesame: Dealing with lethargy can be quite annoying during the menstrual cycle but to soothe the pain jaggery and sesame can be consumed together either in raw form or with a cup of milk. But remember to take sesame seeds in moderation as they tend to generate a lot of heat in the body.

Ginger, turmeric and tulsi tea: Sipping off a cup of warm ginger/tulsi and turmeric tea can ease the discomfort and pain in the menstrual cycle. Ginger helps to lower the level of prostaglandins that are majorly responsible for triggering muscle cramps during the menstrual cycle.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Diet, exercise and sunlight: Three factors women shouldn’t ignore for good bone health

Dr. Dharini Krishnan

Dr. Dharini Krishnan
11 January 2021

This article is authored by Dr. Dharini Krishnan, an award-winning Consultant Dietitian, she believes that for a healthy body and mind, we must combine modern medicine with native Indian practices which are proven to benefit us.

Barring a significant injury or fracture, we rarely tend to think about bone health. Yet, for women, particularly those who are middle-aged or older, this is a vital concern because of the risk of osteoporosis.

In 2013, it was estimated that there were 50 million Indians who were osteoporotic or having low bone mass. Some studies have found that the prevalence of osteoporosis could be as high as 42.5% in women over the age of 50.

Osteoporosis and health complications

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Osteoporosis comes from the Latin for “porous bone”, and is a condition where bone tissue loses its density, and becomes weaker and more fragile. Such bones are easily susceptible to breaks, resulting in pain, disability and loss of functionality in everyday life.

Bones, which form the primary supporting framework of the body, grow from birth till our early twenties, which is the period of peak bone mass. Bone is an active tissue that undergoes regular replacement in conditions of health.

In osteoporosis, however, bone formation is outpaced by bone loss, leading to porosity or thinness of bone tissue and brittle bones. Such bones could easily be fractured even in the absence of significant trauma. Such fractures tend to reduce mobility and lead to increased hospitalization and dependence on others.

Why osteoporosis affects women more

Women are particular at risk for osteoporosis because they have lesser bone mass to start with. The geometry and structure of bone have also been increasingly recognized as important risk factors for fracture.

The risk of osteoporosis significantly rises during menopause because of the hormonal changes women undergo at the time. This is because estrogen plays a significant role in maintaining bone health, and the secretion of this hormone falls drastically during menopause.

The importance of protein and calcium in the diet

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For some time now, awareness of the importance of calcium for bone health has been growing. Hence, women are advised to consume sufficient amounts of dairy, green leafy vegetables, soya products and nuts.

What many don’t realise is that sufficient levels of protein are just as important for strong bones. After all, protein makes up roughly 50% of bone volume and about one-third of its mass. Daily intake of protein is also necessary to provide the raw materials for bone formation. Unfortunately, research shows that the levels of dietary protein consumed by Indians are actually reducing.

For non-vegetarians chicken, fish and eggs are good sources of protein. For vegetarians, pulses are one of the primary sources of protein, along with dairy products. Daily intake of protein in at least two major meals of the day, particularly in healthy forms such as sambhar or dal is, therefore, vital.

The role of exercise and sunlight

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Bone health also requires good muscle health. This makes it necessary to undertake moderate exercise as often as possible. A 45-minute walk six days a week as well as resistance training using the body weight, such as surya namaskaras, can go a long way to building muscles. Importantly, the body also requires Vitamin D to mobilize calcium for bone health. Hence, exposure to peak sunlight between 11am and 3 pm at least twice a week is also vital for bone health.

Osteoporosis can be a serious health problem that disrupts life and limits mobility, particularly for women. However, a healthy diet, rich in calcium and protein, together with exercise, can go a long way in maintaining bone health.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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