Why Do Women Need More Iron and Calcium Than Men?

Why Do Women Need More Iron and Calcium Than Men?

Women are the backbone of their families gracefully harmonizing home, work, and community life. However, they often face pressure to make healthy food choices.

Finding the right balance can be tough, but it's crucial for their well-being.

Unfortunately, many women put their own health on the back burner, focusing on family first. This can lead to strict diets that lack essential nutrients, leaving them drained out of energy.

Remember, the choices women make in their daily diets have a lasting impact on their health. Prioritizing nutritious foods is not just a safeguard; it's a way for women to stay strong in the face of life's challenges, considering, women have unique nutritional needs

What Is Nutritional Deficiency?

Nutrient deficiencies arise when an individual either fails to ingest or cannot absorb an adequate amount of essential nutrients, which include vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids.

What Are The Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies In Women?

Research has indicated that a woman's nutrient intake is influenced by various factors beyond just her dietary choices, including socioeconomic status, stress levels, excessive exercise, and more. Experts suggest that approximately 30 percent of all women experience one or more deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, and the likelihood of these deficiencies tends to rise with age.

  1. Iron,
  2. Vitamin B12
  3. Vitamin D
  4. Calcium
  5. Magnesium
  6. Iodine
  7. Folate

What Accounts For The Higher Nutritional Demands Of Women Compared To Men?

  1. Menstruation: Menstruation plays a pivotal role in the increased iron requirements of women. Women in their reproductive years experience a consistent loss of iron due to monthly menstrual bleeding. This iron depletion typically ranges from 15 to 30 milligrams per month, influenced by factors such as the duration and intensity of the menstrual flow. To counterbalance this regular iron loss, it is essential for women to incorporate a diet rich in iron-containing foods.
  2. Pregnancy: Throughout pregnancy, a woman's demand for iron experiences a substantial rise in order to facilitate the growth of the foetus and the expansion of maternal blood volume. Iron plays a crucial role in the formation of red blood cells and the transportation of oxygen to the developing foetus. Consequently, pregnant women may find it necessary to incorporate iron supplements into their diet to adequately address these heightened requirements.
  3. Lactation: Breastfeeding mothers have an increased need for iron, as they are not only nourishing themselves but also providing essential nutrients to their infants through breast milk. Iron is actively transferred from the mother's body into her breast milk to fulfill the growing demands of the baby. Hence, it is important for breastfeeding mothers to ensure they maintain an adequate dietary intake of iron to support both their own health and the optimal growth and development of their infants. (Source).

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  1. Bone Health: Calcium is essential for bone health and density. Women, especially as they age, have a higher risk of osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weak and brittle bones. To mitigate this risk, women need to maintain a sufficient calcium intake throughout their lives, particularly during periods of rapid bone growth (adolescence) and bone loss (post-menopause).
  2. Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations in hormonal levels within women's bodies, specially those linked to the menstrual cycle and menopause, exert a significant impact on calcium metabolism and overall bone health. Oestrogen, a hormone that diminishes during menopause, plays a pivotal role in preserving bone density. Consequently, women in the post-menopausal phase may require an increased calcium intake to fortify and sustain their bone health. (Source).

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Tips For Iron Rich Foods

  • Incorporate vitamin C-rich foods into your diet, such as leafy greens and citrus fruits like lemons.
  • Consume lean red meat.
  • Consume a diet that includes seafood and poultry
  • Avoid coffee, tea, or milk during meals.

Note: The daily requirement of iron –18 mg/day for an adult woman and 27 mg/day if pregnant.

Tips For Calcium Rich Foods

  • Include more dairy products in your diet–milk, yoghurt, cheese.
  • Consume a lot of green leafy vegetables.
  • Incorporate nuts and seeds into your diet, such as almonds and sesame seeds.
  • Celebrate the ocean's goodness – enjoy more fish and oysters.
  • Consider incorporating tofu or tempeh as  alternatives in place of some meat items.
  • Reduce the intake of caffeine, alcohol.
Note: The daily requirement of calcium –1000 –1200 mg/day  

"It's important to note that individual dietary requirements can vary, and factors like age, activity level, overall health, and specific medical conditions can affect a person's iron and calcium needs."

Key Takeaway

  1. Women have unique nutritional needs due to factors like menstruation, pregnancy, lactation, and hormonal changes. These factors can lead to common nutrient deficiencies, including iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, iodine, and folate.
  2. Iron is crucial for women, as they lose iron through monthly menstruation and require extra during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Calcium is vital for bone health, and women, especially as they age, are at a higher risk of osteoporosis, which necessitates maintaining sufficient calcium intake. Hormonal fluctuations, like those during menopause, can also affect calcium metabolism.
  3. To address these needs, dietary choices are essential. For iron, include vitamin C-rich foods, lean red meat, seafood, and poultry. Avoid consuming coffee, tea, or milk during meals. The daily iron requirement is 18 mg for adult women and 27 mg during pregnancy.
  4. For calcium, incorporate dairy products, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, seafood, tofu, and tempeh into your diet. Limit caffeine and alcohol intake. The daily calcium requirement ranges from 1000 to 1200 mg.
  5. Additionally, there are dietary supplements and specialized products available, like those containing a blend of nutrients such as sodium feredetate, Vitamin C, and B vitamins. These can provide support, but it's advisable to consult with a healthcare provider or dietitian for personalized guidance on nutrition.

For further guidance on choosing the right supplements to keep your Iron and calcium levels in check, Book your FREE CONSULTATION with our Expert Dr! or WhatsApp us on +91 9500775666 to schedule your consultation right away!

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