The Types of Food Women Should Be Eating to Attain Optimal Health

"This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links."

Up to 50% of women are on a diet at any given time. However, cutting out certain foods or limiting food altogether isn’t always the best choice. Instead, it’s important to make a plan designed to help you achieve your optimal health. 

As a woman, your dietary needs are unique. There are certain vitamins and nutrients you need each day to attain optimal health.

Keep reading to learn how to make the most out of your daily diet. With these tips, you can start feeling happy, healthy, and strong! Discover a healthy diet for women trying to improve their health with this helpful guide.

Maintaining Nutritional Balance

Finding the right balance of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients can help you maintain a healthy weight. At the same time, you can boost your mood and find the energy you need to take on the day!

However, a healthy diet for women differs then what’s considered healthy for men. For example, women require fewer calories each day. At the same time, women need more vitamins and minerals from their diet.

Maintaining a healthy diet that considers your dietary needs as a woman can help boost your energy level and mood. At the same time, it can also help you combat stress, which is great for achieving optimal health.

If you plan on having kids, focusing on your dietary needs is important. Your diet can improve your fertility and help you manage a healthy pregnancy.

Meanwhile, your diet can help ease your PMS and menopause symptoms, too!

However, taking vitamins and minerals each day isn’t always enough. You need to get these nutrients from the food you eat each day, too. Here are a few tips that can help you achieve optimal health in your daily diet.

Calcium for Strong Bones

Calcium is important for strong teeth and healthy bones. It’s also responsible for regulating your heart’s rhythm and improving how your nervous system functions.

Calcium deficiency, on the other hand, can cause sleep and mood issues. You might experience depression, anxiety, or irritability. Meanwhile, your bones will begin to weaken, which could lead to osteoporosis. 

In fact, women are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis as they age than men. In order to keep your bones healthy, you’ll need calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium.

In Your Diet

The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) suggests a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 1,000 mg for women between 19 and 50 years of age. For women 51 or older, the RDA is 1,200 mg.

You can add calcium to your regular diet by eating:

  • Plain, low-fat yogurt
  • Orange juice
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Sardines
  • Nonfat milk
  • Tofu
  • Salmon
  • Kale
  • Chia seeds
  • Broccoli

You’ll also need magnesium, which increases how much calcium is absorbed from your blood into your bones. You need about 320 to 400 mg of magnesium a day. You can find magnesium in leafy green vegetables.

Consider adding other green vegetables to your diet, including celery, broccoli, and cucumber. You can also consume magnesium by eating seeds, halibut, and squash.

Vitamin D, on the other hand, helps your body metabolism calcium. Try for 600 international units (IU) a day. You can get vitamin D from stepping into the sun or eating eggs, shrimp, or salmon.

Adding calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D to your daily diet will strengthen your bones. Otherwise, your body will take the calcium it needs from your bones, causing osteoporosis. 

Iron in Your Blood

Your body needs iron to create hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen in your blood, which benefits your hair, skin, and nails.

Without enough iron, you might develop anemia. As a result, you’ll likely feel weak, tired, and even depressed.

You might also have a difficult time concentrating. Women between the ages of 19 and 50 need about 18 mg of iron a day. Women above the age of 51, however, need about 8 mg.

In Your Diet

You can find iron in:

  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Dark chocolate
  • Oysters
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Red meat
  • Poultry

Iron is usually found in red meat, especially animal liver.

Finding Folate

Vitamin B9, or folate, is an important component of women’s nutrition. Adding folate to your diet can reduce the chance of neurological birth defects. It also helps lower the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Without enough folate, however, you might feel tired, irritable, or more susceptible to depression and headaches. 

Women 19 years and older should get 400 mcg Dietary Folate Equivalents (DFEs). Pregnant women should get 600 mcg DFEs, while women who are lactating need 500 mcg DFEs.

In Your Diet

You can find folate naturally in:

  • Dark, leafy green vegetables
  • Fruits and fruit juices
  • Nuts
  • Seafood
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Grains
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Peas

Foods with the highest level of folate include spinach, liver, asparagus, and brussels sprouts. 

Pick Your Proteins

When trying to achieve a healthy weight, only 38.7% of people changed their eating habits. Another 38.6% ate less sugar and sweets, with 30.4% eating fewer carbohydrates.

You are what you eat! When trying to achieve optimal health, you need to adjust your diet.

In Your Diet

For starters, make sure you’re consuming enough protein each day. Try eating:

  • Eggs
  • Chicken breast
  • Fish
  • Beef

You can also find protein in foods other than dairy or meat. For example, try eating legumes or tofu. Aim for proteins that are high in nutrients but low in saturated fats and processed carbs. 

Filling Fiber

Fiber is filling. Adding fiber to your diet can keep you from snacking throughout the day, which can help you maintain optimal health.

Fiber can also keep your bowel movements regular. Meanwhile, it helps lower LDL cholesterol, which will keep your blood sugar from rising.

In Your Diet

To add fiber to your daily diet, try eating:

  • Sprouting broccoli
  • Bananas
  • Lima beans
  • Pears
  • Strawberries
  • Avocado
  • Apples

If you’re looking for a snack beside fruit and vegetables, try almonds or popcorn. Ensuring you are eating enough fiber is one of the best ways to control hunger and appetite.

Healthy Fats

Trans fats don’t offer any benefits. Healthy fats, however, can help you feel full for longer periods of time. Healthy fats can also benefit women’s nutrition and weight-loss goals. 

In fact, healthy fats can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and reduce inflammation, too. 

In Your Diet

If you want to eat low carb, remove processed foods from your diet. You’ll also need to reconsider some of the vegetables you’re eating. For example, you’ll want to cut out starches like potatoes and squashes.

Instead, focus on eating leafy greens and proteins. 

If you want to learn more about healthy fats and how to implement them in your diet, you can visit our article on good fats vs bad fats.

Eating Low Carb

When trying to achieve their optimal health, many women elect to follow a low carb diet. This ongoing trend has led many people to turn to the keto diet, which cuts carbs. Instead, the keto diet encourages balancing macronutrients.

In Your Diet

If you want to eat low carb, remove processed foods from your diet. You’ll also need to reconsider some of the vegetables you’re eating. For example, you’ll want to cut out starches like potatoes and squashes.

Instead, focus on eating leafy greens and proteins.

Spice Things Up

Herbs and spices can help add flavor to your favorite dishes. In fact, many spices and herbs can even fight inflammation. Reducing inflammation in your body can improve your regular diet and benefit your weight loss goals.

In Your Diet

Try adding turmeric, ginger, and garlic to your favorite dishes.

Other healthy spices include cayenne pepper, oregano, and cinnamon.

Uniquely For Women

As we age, our body goes through hormonal as well as physical changes. As a result, our women’s nutrition needs change over the years as well. It’s important to make sure your regular diet changes to match these dietary needs.

Otherwise, the food you eat each day could lack the vitamins and minerals you need. 

Hormonal changes caused by having children, menstruation, and menopause can leave you at risk for certain conditions. For example, you might develop anemia or osteoporosis.

As a result, women need certain vitamins and minerals to maintain optimal health. Try getting enough vitamin B9, calcium, iron, and magnesium in your diet.

You might want to adjust your current diet based on your current health situation. Here are four conditions that uniquely affect a woman’s dietary needs. 

Pregnant Women

To provide nutrients for your growing baby, you’ll need to consume omega-3 fatty acids. You can find omega-3 in salmon, tuna, herring, and sardines. Try to eat more frequent meals and smaller portions, too.

Meanwhile, avoid food that has high levels of mercury, like tuna and swordfish. Instead, eat high-quality proteins like dairy, poultry, and plant-based sources.

Breastfeeding Women

For healthy breastfeeding, focus on protein and calcium intake. You’ll also want to take prenatal vitamin supplements. Otherwise, try to increase your caloric consumption.

Make sure to speak to your doctor about other ways to meet your dietary needs while you’re breastfeeding. 

Women with PMS

Women with PMS often experience fatigue, cramping, and bloating. The foods you eat can help ease your symptoms.

First, try to eat foods that are high in iron and zinc. These include red meat, liver, leafy green vegetables, and eggs.

Try to avoid pro-inflammatory foods, which can trigger your symptoms. These include trans-fats, deep-fried foods, and sugary snacks.

Caffeine and alcohol both worsen PMS symptoms, too. You’ll want to avoid these during your cycle. If you’re still experiencing heavy cramping, try eating foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids like fish and flaxseed.

Women with Menopause

An estimated 6,000 women in the country reach menopause every day. That’s over 2 million a year. On average, 27 million between the ages of 45 and 64 experience menopause each year.

That’s about 20% of the country’s workforce.

To ease your menopause symptoms, try:

  • Eating more soy
  • Flaxseed to reduce hot flashes
  • Good fats, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Boosting your calcium intake

Make sure to limit wine, sugar, and coffee to reduce your hot flashes, too.

Achieving Optimal Health: Your Guide to a Healthy Diet for Women

Ready to achieve your optimal health? With these tips, you can enjoy a healthy diet for women with ease! Make sure to consult your doctor when making any major dietary changes. 

Discover more ways to achieve your women’s nutrition goals. Explore the Diet & Nutrition section today.