Healthy nutrition is the basic requirement for physical and mental well-being as well as for the efficiency of our organism. Most people are aware of this. Nevertheless, the reality is often different: Today's lifestyle has not only brought us a diverse range of food and drinks, but also faulty eating habits. In addition, the media, advertising, family, friends and last but not least the education determine which foods we use. The tendency of younger women in particular to gain or maintain the lowest possible "weight" usually leads to an unhealthy diet. Health-threatening undersupply of certain nutrients is a common consequence. In addition, this behavior also provides a breeding ground for the development of eating disorders.
What is a healthy diet?
A healthy diet means a low-fat, balanced mixed diet, rich in complex carbohydrates and ball substances and a sufficient hydration. It ensures optimum supply of carbohydrates, protein and fats, vitamins and minerals. Balanced nutrition should be composed as follows
- 50 to 60 percent of the daily calorie intake from carbohydrates (1 gram = 4 kcal)
- 15 to max. 20 percent protein (1 gram = 4 kcal)
- 25 to max. 30 percent from fats (1 gram = 9 kcal)
Depending on the region, the fat content in the diet accounts for 40 to 50 percent, sometimes even more, of the daily energy intake. No wonder that a calorie-reduced diet saves on fat calories and is based on low-fat products.
Nutritional needs of the woman in certain phases of life
The need for nutrients of women and girls differs from that of men at certain stages of life.
Children and adolescents
Children and adolescents have an increased energy demand during the growth phase. They need 1.2 to 1.5 grams of protein per kg of body weight and day. The best is a combination of proteins of animal and vegetable origin. The supply of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D during growth is crucial for the future life. A well-functioning calcium metabolism is created in childhood. Inadequate intake of calcium and phosphorus at a young age increases the risk of later developing osteoporosis. Young girls should develop solid bones and healthy teeth. The most important calcium donors are milk and dairy products.
After the first menstruation, a girl needs more iron. Iron is much better absorbed when it is absorbed in a form that is easily used by the body (animal products, especially muscle meat). In addition, certain excipients, such as vitamin C (orange juice) facilitate iron absorption in the digestive tract. If there is no iron deficiency, one to two meat meals per week are sufficient. An adequate supply of vital substances is also to be considered during childhood and adolescence. Increasingly, children and adolescents drink sugary soft drinks, while the consumption of milk and fruit juices decreases.
pregnancy and breast feeding period
Pregnant or nursing mothers need more protein, calcium, iron, fat and water. The unborn and the newborn need calcium for the bones and protein for the body tissues. In calcium deficiency, the bone material of the mother serves as a source of calcium. Increasing blood volume during pregnancy requires increased iron intake. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should eat at least two meat meals per week.
They also need a lot more water. During pregnancy, more water is stored in the uterine and pelvic tissues and the breast milk also contains about 90 percent water. During the growth phase, pregnancy and lactation, women also need a certain amount of fat (at least 15 to 20 percent of calories) in their diet, including cholesterol. Cholesterol forms part of the cell membrane. The growing organism has a high cell division rate and needs corresponding building material.
During and after menopause, a woman should consume at least 1.5 grams of calcium (previously 0.8 grams). Already 1 liter of fresh milk contains 1.2 grams of this mineral. But it is also abundant in dairy products, oats, almonds, beans and kale. Further, in the menopause, 800 milligrams of phosphorus and 400 iu (international units) of vitamin D are recommended daily for the prevention of osteoporosis.
In aging people are often malfunctioning (digestive, metabolic disorders, osteoporosis, etc.) and the calorie requirement decreases. In this phase of life the woman needs easily digestible protein, less sugar and less fat. Due to the decreasing bile flow fats are less easily digested and therefore less compatible. As a fiber carrier fruits should be preferred to whole grains.
Alcohol and health
Zahlreice epidemiological studies in recent years indicate that there is a relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and a decreased rate of heart attack and myocardial infarction. A healthy woman recommends N.Wormer in his book "Daily Wine" up to 24 grams of alcohol daily. Organically, women tolerate less alcohol than men (recommended amount 32 grams). That alcohol up to this amount is beneficial to health, is scientifically proven. The investigations, however, mostly relate to the consumption of red wine.
Worth knowing when talking about alcohol is that alcohol contains significantly more calories (7 kcal per gram) than carbohydrates and protein. As soon as alcohol has to be broken down, fat loss is severely curtailed. The energy from the alcohol is "channeled" in the form of fatty acids. Alcoholic drinks are also often appetizing. On the other hand, a glass of red wine for eating causes more iron to be absorbed from food.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
In contrast to men, women are subject to menstrual hormonal fluctuations. These can manifest themselves in disorders such as mood swings, depression, increased water retention in the tissue and greater appetite before the onset of the menstrual period. Often women complain of food cravings and cravings for sweets before menstruation.
Affected women can counteract by regularly eating smaller meals, mainly fruits or low-calorie carbohydrates. Nutritionists consistently point out that women are quite modest in their food choices, even in the industrialized world. They eat less high quality protein, little fruit, but too much sugar and fat. Anemia, bone loss (osteoporosis), latent vitamin deficiency or severe obesity are common.
Studies show that there are dietary differences between boys and girls as early as infancy and during adolescence. Boys prefer meat meals and girls low-calorie foods with carbohydrates and vegetables. Women also tend to drink too little. Dry skin and mucous membranes are common consequences of it.
The good advice: eat well, drink at least 2 liters of liquid per day and make sure that your need for vital substances is covered.