Diet Plans for Women
Diet plans generally refer to eating regimen that help to keep the body lean and disease free. Additionally, certain dietary ingredients may be chosen for their energy boosting and detoxifying effects.
As with every diet, the ideal diet plans for women should include whole foods, fruits and vegetables, a strict avoidance of junk food, a judicious ingestion of complex carbohydrates and fats, and an adequate intake of water.
However, as girls mature into womanhood, the unique biological functions of pregnancy and childbearing come into play with the first menstrual cycle, and it makes sense to understand the areas where women differ from men when deciding upon diet plans for women.
There are specific dietary requirements to ease menstrual pain, for healthy pregnancy, and to reduce post menopause problems, but there are certain common aspects to diet plans for women of all ages.
Diet Plans for Women – The Ingredients
Briefly, women need lesser calories and fiber, and more iron, calcium, and folic-acid (especially during pregnancy) than men.
Menstruation causes loss of iron in women that may not always translate to anemia, but remains a deficiency of iron nonetheless, which can seriously impair optimum performance (in both men and women).
Diet plans for women should invariably include dark poultry, lean red meat, lentils, almonds, split peas, beans, and spinach – all natural sources of iron.
Calcium is an even bigger issue for women than iron. Osteoporosis is a crippling bone disease that affects women at a rate four times higher than it affects men.
Plenty of calcium must be part of all diet plans for females, preferably from plant sources because dairy, with its animal fat and protein, can actually lead to bone loss.
Beans, Brussels sprouts, collard greens and broccoli are all good sources of natural calcium. Also important is Kale, a leafy green high on Vitamin K which is supposed to be an excellent bone builder, and appears to lessen the chances of hip fracture.
Women, with their natural muscle mass always proportionately lower than that of men, do not need as much protein.
In fact, an excess of protein is harmful for women because it can cause a significant decline in calcium and serotonin levels. Low serotonin levels are detrimental to health and especially damaging to emotional balance.
Athletes and pregnant women are exceptions, and diet plans for pregnant women will include more protein than even the average man needs.
In general, however, 0.8 gm of protein per kilo of body-weight should be sufficient for the average woman not into maternity or weight training.
More than two alcoholic drinks per day leads to higher risk of osteoporosis in women. Caffeine affects hormonal levels and leads, again, to calcium deficiency.
Diet plans for females ought to factor this in and pay special attention to limiting the consumption of both.
Walnuts are the only nuts that contain the popular Omega 3 Fatty Acids. They are an excellent dietary ingredient for women to decrease chances of breast cancer as well as keep healthy bones. Only thing to keep in mind is that nuts are calorie dense, and since women need lesser calories than men, bingeing on walnuts could lead to potential weight gain.
Omega 3 Acids have numerous benefits, and they have a definite place in diet plans for women because they help in dealing with postpartum depression, lead to a healthy growth of the brain and the nervous system of the fetus, and, most important for any woman but more so for those beyond forty and with decreasing estrogen levels, they keep the heart healthy.
Even with the emphasis on calcium, heart disease is still the primary cause of death for women. Diet plans for women should include fish oil supplements and salmon for a healthy balance of protein, calories and Omega 3s.
Apart from the serious aspects that have already been referred to, diet plans for women would remain incomplete without cranberry juice which helps to prevent the extremely common and immensely irritating urinary tract infection that no woman is spared of.
Effective diet plans for women are ones that have a healthy approach to eating as in any diet, but with special attention to what makes the female physiology both unique as well as susceptible to specific health problems.