Ladies, let’s admit it: we are all guilty of indulging on occasion, even those of us who try diligently to maintain healthy eating habits. Because of this, we may be lacking in some key areas of our nutritional intake. Did you know that during different stages of your life it may be necessary to increase different vitamins and minerals in your diet to help support your overall health and well-being.
Adolescent Girls (Pre-Teen to 20)
A large number of adolescent girls are not meeting the dietary intake recommendations in all major food groups except grains. And, it appears as if the grains they are consuming are the refined type. (Think white bread, white rice, flour tortillas, etc.)
So what does this mean? Basically it means adolescent girls’ diets are most likely lacking some important micronutrients. One of the micronutrients that appears to be inadequate in their diets is calcium. Calcium plays an important role in many body functions. While most of us associate calcium with strong bones and teeth, it is also necessary for nerve and muscle function.** And, “calcium is used to help blood vessels move blood throughout the body and to help release hormones and enzymes that affect almost every function in the human body.”**1. Dairy products may provide a good dietary source of calcium and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale may also help provide calcium in the diet.
Women of Child-Bearing Age (Age 20 to Age 40)
Did you know that Folic Acid plays a vital role in the growth and development of healthy new cells?** Does it surprise you to learn that your body generates new cells daily? Well, just consider all the parts that are actively growing – hair, skin and nails. These parts (and others) generate new cells every day. Folic Acid also supports heart and cardiovascular health.**
For women of this age group, the daily-recommended intake of Folic Acid (a B vitamin) is 400 micrograms per day. It is especially important to those who are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant because an adequate intake of folic acid in healthful diets may reduce a woman’s risk of having a child with a brain or spinal cord defect. Getting enough folic acid before and during pregnancy helps achieve this goal. Because it is recommended that pregnant women get 600 micrograms of Folic Acid per day, women who are planning on getting pregnant should consult with their doctor about Folic Acid at least a month before getting pregnant.
Women Over 50
Older Americans may be at a higher risk of not getting enough B12 from their diet than the general population even though vitamin B12 occurs naturally in meats, dairy products, and fish. According to the most recent Dietary Guideline for Americans, older Americans may have reduced ability to absorb vitamin B12 from the food they eat. A diet rich in B12-fortified foods or dietary supplements may be recommended for people over age 50.
Embrace Your Age and Take Care of Yourself for Life
In addition to age-specific needs you should also pay attention to these key areas throughout your lifetime:
- Commit to being tobacco-free
- Enjoy physical activity and make healthy food choices
- Limit Alcohol (No more than 1 alcoholic drink per day. A standard drink is one 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.)2
We’d also like to leave you with one last thought about an organ that often goes overlooked, even though it is the largest organ of your body; SKIN.
Check your skin and body regularly and get regular screenings. Do checks during and after bathing. If you have any concerns, see your health care provider.