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    Women's Health

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    Essential Nutrients Every Woman Needs

    Pregnancy and Motherhood continued...

    Get your protein from lean meat, chicken, and fish. You can substitute beans and legumes if you’re a vegetarian.


    This nutrient is important for you and for your baby’s blood cells. It can keep you from feeling fatigued, too. Still, it can be tough to get the recommended amount, 27 milligrams a day for pregnant women, from food only, so your doctor may recommend a daily iron supplement.

    Calcium and Vitamin D

    These help build strong bones and teeth. Calcium also keeps your circulatory system, muscles, and nerves working normally.

    While you can get plenty of calcium from dairy, leafy greens, and other foods, most people don’t get enough vitamin D. There aren’t many good food sources, although you can get some from fatty fish like salmon, as well as fortified milk and orange juice.

    The one good way to get D is by going outside, because your body makes the vitamin in response to the sun -- but you need to protect your skin from getting sunburned.

    Taking a supplement may also be a good idea. “Look for one with around 1000 international units of D, plus added calcium,” Frediani says.

    Menopause and Beyond

    Your body goes through a shift as menopause sets in. “After the age of 50, you’re no longer growing, and your activity level typically slows as well,” Frediani says.

    When that happens, and you no longer have menstrual periods, your body needs more of some nutrients and less of others, like iron.

    Calcium and Vitamin D

    Now’s the time when that strong skeleton you built earlier in life starts to pay off, as bone density begins to erode. 

    “Getting enough calcium and engaging in weight-bearing exercise is critical for slowing bone loss,” Frediani says. 

    Boost the amount of calcium you get to 1,200 milligrams a day, and get 800 international units vitamin D.


    It helps lower the risk of all sorts of health conditions, including high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. It also helps keep your colon working well.

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