A modern-day- woman juggles multiple roles- assuming positions of responsibility at the workplace and at the same time looking after household chores. Hence, it is unsurprising that their daily diet and nutrient consumption cannot keep up with this hectic lifestyle. As per an NFHS study (2015-16), one out of every four women of reproductive age in India are malnourished, with a BMI (Body Mass Index) less than 18.5 kg/m. This isn't just restricted to urban women; this rate of undernutrition is higher among rural women, about 40.6% of them compared to their urban counterparts (25%).
World Food Day is commemorated throughout the world on 16th October every year to celebrate the establishment of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in 1945. Part of its resolution is to combat World Hunger. So on this day, let's check out some 'superfood' options that women can opt for to sustain their daily nutritional intake requirements and combat malnourishment.
World Food Day: Here Are 7 Superfoods You Should Add To Your Diet:
This green leafy vegetable is underrated in the amount of nutritional value and content it provides. It has high amounts of magnesium which has been known to help with the physical effects of PMS experienced by reproductive women before the arrival of periods. It is known to be an immunity booster and helps strengthen your bones. Thus, it checks all the checkboxes for a superfood for women.
These are some of the most affordable foods out there with loads of nutrients to benefit from. Lentils are 3rd highest in protein out of any plant-based food. Thus, this is a crucial meal addition to the diet, especially for women over the age of 40. Each variety of lentil provides its nutritional benefits.
Oats are a surplus medium for healthy carbohydrates and fibre to sustain daily energy needs. They also contain more protein and fat than other grains and are loaded with healthy vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant plant compounds.
Working women are at a high risk of reduced bone density and compromised bone structure, leading to severe health complications for them like osteoporosis. Fortunately, milk is an abundant source of calcium and can provide you with the required daily dose. It also contains protein, phosphorus, B vitamin complex, potassium and Vitamin D.
This member of the cruciferous vegetable family is one of the healthiest meal options for women, as it helps you maintain cholesterol levels. It depletes estrogen levels in the body which has known to cause cancer, especially that of the breast and uterus. It is also beneficial for your heart health. Rich in calcium, it contributes to bone density.
Beetroot is an excellent source of fibre. It streamlines the digestive system keeping the gut healthy. Beetroot and its juice are associated with many benefits like improved blood flow, lower blood pressure and better exercise performance. These benefits may be a result of the presence of Inorganic nitrates in the beets. Beetroots and their leaves, referred to as beet greens, can also be consumed as a superfood.
Almond is a prebiotic food which means that it helps the generation of probiotics when they pass through your digestive system. Additionally, a 1/4th cup of almonds contains more protein than an egg and has loads of magnesium.
In the words of Rebecca Milner, "If you check the health of a woman, you check the health of a society." A malnourished woman isn't just unhealthy in herself but goes on to give birth to malnourished children. Thus, it is the need of the hour to ensure that women receive their due share of nutrients. For a country like India, eradicating hunger isn't enough; instead, a healthy balanced diet should be available to the entire population.
Author Bio: Dr Priyanka Gupta Manglik, practising gynaecologist at Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital of Medical Sciences, Lucknow
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