Nutrition & Reproductive health


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“The wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings. Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” – Hippocrates

Hippocrates sure spoke true words. However, for women, besides general health, reproductive health also must be taken good care of. Not only is it closely linked to the health of your baby but it also provides the base for the health of future generations. So, it is not to be taken lightly.

You must include variety of foods in your diet. At the same time, you must be careful to not overindulge yourself. Mindful eating is very important. Here are some tenets of healthy eating. Read on for a guilt free 2017!

  • Healthy diet should include whole grains, fat free dairy products, pulses, plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eggs, peas, beans and nuts are good sources of protein.

  • Vegetables and fruits are rich in vitamins. Citrus fruits like oranges contain high content of vitamin C and should be consumed regularly.

  • Nutritional diet not only provides energy but also helps prevent disease

  • Iron is a mineral necessary for the formation of blood.Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia. Iron rich foods are vegetables such as beetroot (chukandar), pumpkin (kaddu), sweet potato (shakarkandi), broccoli (hari gobhi) and asparagus, legumes and pulses such as soya bean, cow peas (lobhia), kidney beans (rajma), dried peas (sookhi matar), chickpeas (chhola), and lentils (dal).

  • Vitamin C helps in the absorption of iron. Iron supplements may be taken with orange juice and lemonade.

  • Calcium is important for healthy strong bones and teeth. Some calcium-rich foods include low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese,and tofu.

Folic acid deficiency and birth defects

Women of childbearing age, need to eat enough folic acid to decrease risk of birth defects such as neural tube defects, cleft lip and cleft palate. The requirement is at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day. Citrus fruits, leafy greens, beans and peas contain folate. There are many folic acid fortified foods such as cereals, rice and breads.

Ideal BMI

It is important to maintain ideal BMI between 18.5 to 25 kg/m2. An obese individual is one with BMI>30kg/m2. Overweight and obesity is a growing epidemic caused by diets high in processed calorie rich foods. Overweight adolescent girls and women are at increased risk for Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) which may lead to infertility.

Obesity also leads to a number of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and some cancers in addition to elevated risk for pregnancy complications and poor birth outcomes.

Hence it is important to avoid excess calories from added sugars,fat and alcohol. Limit intake of soft drinks, fast foods like burgers, pizzas, full fat dairy products and baked foods. Instead switch to whole foods like pulses, legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables.

Balancing calories with activity

Since women typically have less muscle, but more fat ,they need fewer calories to maintain a healthy body weight and activity level. Moderately active women need 1,800 to 2,200 calories a day. Women who are physically active may require more calories.

Exercise is an important part of a woman's health. Regular daily activity helps with weight control, muscle strength and stress management.

If you are reproductive system is healthy, you can be a healthy mother with a healthy baby. This baby will then carry your good health forward.