WomenHealth-NutritionalDeficiencies

Women experience unique health care challenges and are more likely to be diagnosed with certain diseases. If we look into the root cause of these complications, extreme nutritional deficiency emerges as one of the major factors. It can lead to infections and other serious health conditions which might be irreparable.

Here we are going to reflect on some of the nutritional deficiencies that women face. Many of the symptoms that we face from the common cold, fatigue are attributed to what we eat, our schedule, improper nutritional knowledge & social status attached to gender.  

Deficiency: Iron

Women are especially vulnerable to iron deficiency due to menstrual loss and childbearing.  

Symptoms:

Fatigue, shortness of breath, brittle nails, swollen tongue.

Remedy: 

  • Eat vitamin C-rich foods: Consuming vitamin C-rich foods together with foods rich in non-heme iron, mostly found in plant based foods like whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and leafy greens may increase the absorption of iron by up 300%.
  • Avoid coffee and tea with meals: Drinking coffee and tea with meals can reduce iron absorption by 50-90%. 
  • Soak, sprout and ferment: Soaking, sprouting and fermenting grains and legumes can improve iron absorption by lowering the amount of phytates naturally present in these foods.
  • Use a cast iron pan: Foods prepared in a cast iron pan tend to provide two to three times more iron as those prepared in non-iron cookware. 
  • Consume lysine-rich foods: Consuming plant foods like legumes and quinoa that are rich in the amino acid lysine together with your iron-rich meals may increase iron absorption. 
  • Tofu, jaggery, beetroot, Jamun (Indian Blackberry), green leafy vegetables like spinach, and all types of millets like ragi, jwar, bajra etc are rich sources of iron.

Deficiency: Vitamin D

We might think we are getting enough of vitamin D from sunbathing but makeup and sunblocks we use can prevent it from seeping into the skin. Women who are pregnant, about to become pregnant, or 40+ really need vitamin D for their bone health. This vitamin is of great importance especially during the pandemic, since we are all staying indoors. 

Symptoms:

Weak immune system, recurring cold and flu, respiratory tract infection, fatigue and tiredness, impaired wound healing, hair loss, muscle pain, poor bone health, depression, rickets, obesity & type -2 diabetes. 

Remedy: 

  • Sunbathing before 8:00 AM daily or just before sunset.
  • Drinking sun charged water. Keep your drinking water in the sun for 5-8 hours in a glass bottle before consuming it. 
  • Practicing Tratak or sun gazing. It is the practice of gazing at the sun during sunrise or sunset without blinking eyes for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Consuming foods fortified with vitamin D, like dairy products from desi cows or A2 milk, mushroom, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals.

Deficiency: Iodine

It can disrupt thyroid hormone production which in turn helps control our metabolism, body temperature, and more. Prenatal vitamins have more of this nutrient. Iodine deficiency in pregnant women may cause intellectual disabilities in the fetus. Insufficient iodine in the diet can cause goiter; swelling of the thyroid gland around the throat. Over time, iodine deficiency leads to hypothyroidism.

Symptoms:

Weight gain, fatigue, feeling cold in hands and feet, hair fall, constipation, dry skin, heavy or irregular period.

Remedy:

  • Having Iodine rich foods like seaweed, A2 dairy products like milk, yoghurt, cheese, and prunes.
  • Iodized salt
  • Iodine supplement if prescribed by the doctor.

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