Be Your Best You
Your body needs many nutrients, but there are certain ones that are especially important for women’s health.
Iron has many important jobs. It helps you make healthy blood, gives you energy, and prevents sickness and infections. Low iron levels are common in women, so it is important that you aim to eat plenty of iron rich foods.
- Beef, chicken, and pork
- Dried beans, tofu
- Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach
- Breads, pastas, and cereals fortified with iron
Other ways to get more Iron
- Eat iron foods with foods rich in vitamin C like tomatoes, bell peppers, strawberries, oranges, and broccoli.
- Eat two iron foods together like chicken and beans.
- Cook in cast-iron pots or skillets.
- Avoid tea or coffee with iron foods. These drinks make it harder for your body to use iron.
Women of all ages need calcium to keep their bones healthy and strong. But most women do not get enough calcium. After having a baby, it is even more important to get enough calcium since pregnancy may have lowered your body’s calcium.
- Dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese
- Non-dairy alternatives like fortified soy milk
- Black beans, black-eyed peas, dried beans
- Firm tofu, tempeh
- Fish with edible bones (canned sardines and salmon)
- Breads and juices with added calcium
Fiber is important for a healthy digestive system. It helps prevent constipation and can make you feel full faster. Add fiber to your diet slowly, and be sure to drink plenty of water.
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole-grain breads and cereals
Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps your body make new cells. During pregnancy, it helps protect against brain and spinal cord birth defects (called neural tube defects). Folic acid is needed in the first 30 days of pregnancy — usually when women don’t even know they are pregnant. All women should get enough folic acid so if they do become pregnant, they’ll have enough in the early weeks.
Foods that have folate (the natural form of folic acid) are:
- Broccoli, asparagus
- Lima beans, dried beans and peas
- Spinach and turnip greens
- Oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit
- Nuts and sunflower seeds
Water is a nutrient we tend to forget about, but is needed for good health. Your body needs more water in hot weather, if you are sick, and when you are exercising. Water does a lot to keep you healthy!
- Keeps your body balanced
- Keeps your temperature normal
- Protects your body’s tissues
- Gets rid of waste
Tips to drink more water:
- Drink water with every snack and meal.
- Put fresh or frozen fruit in your water to add flavor.
- Keep a bottle of water with you in your car, at your desk, and in your bag.