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Diet and fitness tips for women
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Diet and fitness tips for women

Post by on Sunday, February 20, 2022

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Eating healthfully is one of the best things women can do to maintain a healthy weight and prevent diseases such as osteoporosis, type 2  diabetes, and some types of cancer.


It is a time of emotional, social, and physical change during which some young women restrict their energy and nutritional intake in a desire to meet unrealistic weight goals. At an extreme, this can lead to disordered eating, but in any situation, restricting nutritional intake below the daily recommendations can hurt the development of an adolescent’s body. Limit the amount of foods and beverages that are high in calories, fat, sugar, or salt.


During the time of planning a pregnancy, being pregnant, or after delivering a baby, nutrition is particularly important. You do need lots of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients for your health and your baby’s growth. But most women need only a few more calories during pregnancy. Typically this means an extra two or three servings a day. Have a piece of fruit and a snack, or have an extra slice of toast at breakfast and an extra glass of milk at dinner or just before bed.  Eat at about the same times each day. This will help keep your energy steady. Breakfast is especially important. Try small meals or healthy snacks every few hours if you are having “morning sickness” or feeling nauseous.

Moreover, It is recommended that all women from their first period until menopause take a multivitamin that contains folic acid every day, including during pregnancy, look for a multivitamin containing between 400 and 1000 micrograms (0.4 and 1.0 milligrams) of folic acid and that also has iron. Some women, including those with a BMI over 30, may need more folic acid.

Old Age

As women get older, their bodies need fewer calories, however, they need more of certain vitamins and minerals such as fiber, calcium, and vitamin D. As at any age, a balanced diet is important, so while selecting foods, choose options that are lower in calories but high in vitamins and minerals.

Moreover, to help reduce the risk for osteoporosis, it is important to get adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D to help ensure that their bones stay strong and healthy. For adults aged 19-50 (including pregnant and lactating women), a recommended daily intake of 1000 mg of calcium and 400 IUs of vitamin D3 is advised.

Adults over the age of 50 should increase their daily intake to 1500 mg of calcium and 800 IUs of vitamin D3. Some foods that are high in calcium include milk, cheese, yogurt, soya beans, mustard greens, almonds, and oranges. While some foods that are high in vitamin D include cod liver oil, fatty fish such as salmon and egg yolks.

Smart dietary guidelines

The American Heart Association recommends the following dietary guidelines, which are suitable for most adults:

??Eat five or more fresh fruits and vegetables each day.

??Eat six or more servings of grains (preferably whole grains) each day.

??Eat fat-free and low-fat dairy, legumes, seafood, and lean meats.

??Avoid foods with more than 2 grams of saturated fat per serving.

??Balance your caloric intake with your energy expenditure.

??Limit junk food, which is high in simple carbohydrates and low in nutrition.

??Limit foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Eat less than 6 grams of salt each day.

General food preparation and meal planning tips:

Try to eat servings of fruits and vegetables at every meal. Besides being delicious, they are full of nutrients and fiber. They may even help prevent certain cancers.

??Boil, steam, bake, roast, or broil foods rather than frying in fat.

??Use unsaturated fats, such as vegetable oils, rather than saturated fats such as butter.

??Use olive oil spray rather than cooking oils to prepare foods.

??Eat white meat chicken or turkey, lean meat, fish, or seafood. Trim the skin from poultry.

??Use low-fat or non-fat dairy products.

??To season foods, choose lemon or lime juice, vinegar, low-sodium soy sauce, plain tomato sauce, salsa and other sauces low in fat, or mustard. Use garlic, onions, ginger, and herbs and spices to flavour foods.

??Avoid high-fat and high-calorie condiments such as mayonnaise, oil, ketchup, salad dressing, or prepared sauces.

??Drink water, caffeine-free soda, tea, or coffee with meals.


Breakfast suggestions

??1 cup of juice or fruit.

??Egg whites or an egg substitute scrambled or prepared as an omelette in olive oil spray.

??Oatmeal or any sugar-free cereal with 6-8 ounces of skim milk.

??Low-fat cream cheese, low-fat cottage cheese, or non-fat yogurt.

??Caffeine-free tea or coffee.


Lunch suggestions

??Half cup of cooked vegetables, such as peas, string beans, asparagus, broccoli, summer squash, escarole, cauliflower, sprouts, or carrots.

??Half cup of a leafy vegetable, such as spinach, kale, or chard.

??Green salad, plain or seasoned with fat-free dressing, vinegar, lemon, or any combination of these (no oil).Include greens and raw vegetables such as tomato, cucumber, sprouts, radish, onion, cabbage, mushrooms, and celery.

??Half cup whole-grain pasta in meat-free tomato sauce.

??Sandwiches made of whole-grain or sourdough bread.

??Two ounces of water-packed tuna or salmon.

??Two slices of a low-fat cold cut or deli meat.

??1-2 ounces of low-fat cheese.


Supper suggestions

??Half cup of cooked vegetables, such as peas, string beans, asparagus, broccoli, summer squash, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, or carrots.

??Half cup of a leafy vegetable, such as spinach, kale, or chard.

??Green salad, plain or seasoned with fat-free dressing, vinegar, lemon, or any combination of these (no oil), include greens and raw vegetables such as tomato, bell peppers, cucumber, sprouts, radish, onion, cabbage, mushrooms, and celery.

??Half chicken breast, baked, or four slices of turkey, skin removed.

??White fish, such as snapper or fillet of sole, baked or steamed in plain tomato sauce, lemon or both.

??Two slices of whole-grain or sourdough bread or ½ cup of a whole grain such as brown rice.

??1/3 cup (or less) of fat-free yogurt or fat-free sour cream.


For dessert

??One small slice of cake or one cookie, low-fat or fat-free and cholesterol-free.

??Half cup of fat-free ice cream or fat-free frozen yogurt.

??Fresh fruit.

??To satisfy hunger between meals, eat unlimited quantities of celery, lettuce, mushrooms, green or red peppers, asparagus, cauliflower, cucumber, and broccoli.


Eating away from home

??When eating in a restaurant, plan ahead. Think about ordering low-fat, low-calorie foods. Remember that most restaurants serve portions much larger than an accepted serving size.

??Ask for a doggy bag or take-out container when you order. As soon as the food comes, set aside half (or more) for future meals. Then eat what is left on your plate. This will help keep you from overeating.

??Skip the breadbasket and the appetizer.

??Ask for foods to be prepared without frying or sauces.

??Avoid high-fat side orders such as french fries, coleslaw, and garlic bread.

??Order salad dressings on the side and dip your fork in the dressing, then spear the salad.

??Drink plenty of plain water.


Changing your habits

??Eat slowly and chew your food well. This helps you feel satisfied with less food.

??The amount of food you eat is more important that the type of food. Think portion control. Familiarize yourself with official serving sizes, and measure and weigh foods accordingly.

??Keep a record of when you eat, what you eat, and how much. This will help you spot situations in which you tend to overeat.

??Avoid or limit comfort foods which are easily eaten foods (such as macaroni and cheese, ice cream, chocolate) that are used to modify your mood.

??Don't give in to food cravings. These are typically foods with a high sugar content that cause your brain to release hormones that temporarily make you feel happy. These foods have addictive properties, so once you start eating them, it's difficult to stop.

??Do not skip meals, especially breakfast. You will just be hungrier and more likely to overeat at the next meal.

??Do not read or watch television while you eat.

??Reduce your appetite by drinking one glass of water 30 minutes before each meal. If your stomach is not empty, food does not look as appetizing.

??Drinking tea (especially green tea, white tea) has also been suggested as a weight loss aid. 

??Stock your refrigerator with healthy, low-calorie food. Don't keep high-fat snacks around the house.

??Reward yourself for specific achievements, such as exercising longer than you had planned or eating less of a tempting food. Of course, the reward should not be food.


Foods to limit or avoid

??Avoid unpasteurized cheese.

??Avoid raw and undercooked fish, meat or vegetables.

??Limit caffeine intake to 300 mg or less a day. An average cup of coffee has about 135 mg of caffeine.

??Use herbal teas with caution.Some herbal teas are safe to drink during pregnancy like ginger, lemon balm, rosehip, blackberry fruit (not leaf), raspberry fruit (not leaf), and strawberry fruit (not leaf).

??Many cultures have dietary and herbal traditions for pregnant and breast-feeding women. But before adopting the same, it is important to check with your health-care practitioner because some traditional practices have benefits, but some could be potentially harmful

Physical activity

Some women used to feel that they had to spend many sweaty hours in the gym in order to be physically active, but scientific research has shown that just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day can have a great impact on their physical and mental health. It can strengthen their heart and lungs, increase energy levels, reduce stress, and help them achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.


Benefits of regular physical activity

??Helps maintain a healthy body weight.

??Builds stronger bones and muscles.

??Helps control blood pressure, cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of a heart attack.

??Increases resistance to disease, including type 2 diabetes.

??Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression while increasing relaxation.

??Improves self-esteem, confidence and overall mental state.

?? Helps one sleep better.

??Gives more energy to tackle one's day.

??Prepare your body for pregnancy, labour and delivery.

??Speeds up your recovery after labour and delivery.


Getting started

??Start easy and progress gradually.

??Talk to your healthcare practitioner before starting a safer exercise program. 

??Start with mild activities like walking and swimming, even five minutes a day will help. 

??Gradually increase the time you’re active to 30 minutes a session.

??Keep being active most days of the week.

??Don’t overdo it. You should be able to carry on a normal conversation during physical activities. 

??Keep cool and hydrated. Drink lots of water before, during, and after physical activity to avoid overheating and dehydration. 

??Avoid being active outdoors on overly hot or humid days.


Exercise tips

??To let your skin breathe during workouts, wear loose clothing. Wear comfortable jogging shoes or sneakers.

??Drink plenty of water before and after exercising. This will replace water lost by perspiration and prevent dehydration. If you want to carry a water bottle, you can drink it while exercising.

??Check your pulse rate frequently (every five minutes) while exercising.

??Normal resting pulse rate may vary between 60 and 90 beats per minute.

??Your pulse should increase somewhat while exercising. The pulse rate may increase up to 120. It is normal to become somewhat short of breath. If you are so short of breath that you cannot speak comfortably, stop for a rest and then continue at a slower rate.

??While exercising, make it a point not to hold your breath. Holding your breath deprives the body of oxygen. Inhale with one movement, and exhale with another.

??Do not continue exercising if you feel pain. Stop and take a break. If you continue to feel pain, talk to a health care professional.

??Keep a record of your activity. You will see progress over time.

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