Women’s nutrition: Understanding your unique needs

People are often confused by constantly evolving dietary information. One study might suggest that tofu is the healthiest protein, while another declares that salmon is best. The good news is that established nutritional guidelines are far more consistent, and your doctor can always provide trustworthy guidance that is personalized to meet your unique health concerns . The physicians at West Hills Hospital welcome your questions about nutrition and healthy living.

Identifying the nutrients you need
Balance is the cornerstone of a healthy diet. Steer clear of fad diets that offer drastic recommendations, and instead focus on getting a balanced blend of nutrient-dense foods. Every woman needs these nutrients:

  • Complex carbohydrates: From grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes
  • Heart-healthy fats: From nuts, fish and vegetable oils
  • Proteins: From poultry, fish, eggs, lean meats, soy, seeds and beans
  • Vitamins and minerals: From grains, vegetables and fruits

Fish can also give you the vitamins and minerals you need. For instance, halibut contains potassium and salmon has vitamin D.

Fiber is another important part of any diet. It supports digestion, helps you maintain your weight and even reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes. Boost your intake of fiber by eating oatmeal with fruit for breakfast and lentil soup with kale for dinner.

Building a healthy plate
The calories your body needs will change throughout your life, depending on your activity level, pregnancy status and age. Dietitians generally recommend having half of your plate devoted to vegetables and fruits, with smaller portions of whole grains and lean proteins.

Making lifestyle changes effortlessly
You don’t need to change your eating habits overnight. Make small changes gradually for long-term success. Write a list of the eating habits you’d like to change, and then focus on one change at a time.

Your list might look something like this:

  • Avoid using sugar and creamer in coffee
  • Drink water with lunch instead of soda
  • Eat an apple for a snack instead of chips
  • Try one new, heart-healthy recipe per week

Smaller modifications are more easily reachable, and you’re more likely to turn them into lifelong habits.

For all of your healthcare concerns at every stage of life, West Hills Hospital is here for you. We’re committed to providing superior, patient-centered healthcare services because our patients are our neighbors in the West Hills-area communities. Call (818) 676-4321 to get in touch with a registered nurse at our hospital.

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