A healthy diet is one that provides you with all the necessary nutrients to keep your body as healthy as possible, or to help it heal if you are living with or recovering from an illness or injury. The basics of a healthy diet are the same for both men and women, but a woman’s body has unique needs.
Women’s health specialists at Dignity Health understand the importance of a healthy diet. To learn more about creating a plan for eating a healthy diet in Sacramento or the surrounding areas, Find a Doctor at Dignity Health.
Conditions Specific to Women & Special Dietary Needs
There are conditions specific to women and there are conditions that may affect more women than men. These may all require different changes to your diet. Some examples include:
- Women who want to get pregnant: Doctors encourage women who are planning on having children to reach an appropriate weight through a diet that focuses on nutritious foods and reduces the amount of “empty calories.” Women of childbearing age should also eat foods high in folic acid — such as leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, and beans — and take a folic acid supplement.
- Pregnancy and nursing: Women who are pregnant or nursing a child have different or additional nutritional requirements for their own health and that of their baby. Because an unborn child’s immune system is undeveloped, pregnant women should avoid foods with a higher risk of contamination, such as soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, dishes made with raw eggs, and certain kinds of fish.
- Menstruation: Because teenage girls and women who menstruate may become anemic (meaning their blood has low iron, or hemoglobin), it’s important for these groups to eat foods high in iron, such as lean red meat, beans, dark green leafy vegetables, and iron-fortified cereals or pastas.
- Menopause: Many women who go through menopause experience uncomfortable symptoms, such as hot flashes. These symptoms may be reduced by limiting your consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and sugar. Menopausal women are also at higher risk for osteoporosis; a diet rich in calcium is essential to help maintain bone health.
- Heart disease: Women are at higher risk of developing heart disease after menopause. You can reduce this risk through a heart-healthy diet that emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean poultry and fish, and low-fat dairy products.
Learning How to Eat a Healthy Diet in the Sacramento Region
Old habits can be hard to break, and eating a healthier diet may be challenging for some women. If you are not sure about how to approach eating a healthier diet, speak with your doctor or nurse practitioner at Dignity Health, and ask for a referral to see a dietitian. Our expert dietitians can assess your current eating habits and nutritional needs, and advise you on the types of foods to buy and even how to prepare them. Dignity Health provides dietary counseling to help women maintain healthy diets in Sacramento and the surrounding areas.