One of the most important, and sometimes overlooked, aspects of women’s health is a healthy diet. A diet rich in nutrients is essential for proper growth and development, as well as for fending off illness and disease at every stage of a woman’s life. Eating healthy foods can also help your body heal faster. While the basics of a healthy diet are the same for men and women, the dietary needs for women are unique.
Dignity Health offers personalized care and treatment for women of all ages. To learn more about following a healthy diet in Arizona, Find a Doctor today at Dignity Health.
Women’s Dietary Needs
There are many conditions specific to women, and many issues that affect women more than men. Each of these may require specific changes to a women’s diet.
Examples of times when dietary changes are especially important for women are:
- Menstruation. During menstruation, teenage girls and women may become anemic (low levels of iron in the blood). Health care providers may recommend a diet high in iron, which includes lean red meat, dark leafy green vegetables, beans, and cereals or pastas fortified with iron.
- Planning for pregnancy. If you want to get pregnant, your doctor may recommend avoiding empty calorie foods. Instead, focus on a nutritious diet that is high in folic acid, including citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, and beans. A folic acid supplement can also help reduce the risk of fetal neural defects during pregnancy.
- Pregnancy and nursing. If you are currently pregnant or nursing your baby, your doctor will focus on very specific dietary recommendations, such as avoiding foods with a higher risk of contamination. This includes anything with raw eggs, certain kinds of fish, and soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk.
- Menopause. Doctors may recommend reducing common postmenopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, with a diet low in caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. Since women with menopause are at an increased risk of osteoporosis, doctors often recommend a diet rich in calcium to maintain bone health.
- Heart disease and related conditions. After menopause, women are at a higher risk of heart disease. A heart-healthy diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean poultry and fish, and low-fat dairy products helps reduce the risk of heart disease.
Find a Health Care Partner at Dignity Health to Achieve a Healthy Diet
If you are interested in finding ways to adopt a healthy diet, speak with a women’s health specialist at Dignity Health. Together, you can talk about any challenges you may be facing, ways to approach a healthier diet, and whether a referral to a dietician could be helpful. A registered dietician can evaluate your current eating habits and help you create a nutrition plan customized to your specific needs.
Dignity Health offers nutritional counseling and individualized guidance on women’s dietary needs in Arizona, as part of our women’s health services.