International Women’s Day Special: Why Is Nutrition Important For Women’s Health, ExpertsInternational Women's Day: Experts speak about women’s health and the importance of having a nutrition-rich diet

New Delhi: Nearly, 53 per cent women in India suffer from Anaemia as per the National Family Health Survey 4 (2015-2016), which is most commonly caused due to lack of nutrients like iron and vitamin B12. Moreover, according to the Global Nutrition Report 2017, India has been placed at the bottom of the table with a maximum number of women impacted with Anaemia in the world, followed by China, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Indonesia. The report also states that more than one in five adult women are overweight. A recent study published in the journal ‘Lancet’ on diet-related death rates in the world, places India (1,573,595 deaths due to poor diet) at second place, only after China (3,128,516 deaths). In fact, India scores way higher than the United States in terms of poor food choices too.

Also Read: Even Though India Sees Improvement In Most Health Indicators, Is The Vision Of Swasth India Still A Distant Dream? 

As the world marks March 8 as International Women’s Day, NDTV speaks to experts to find out what is needed to improve health of India’s women.

Dr Seema Singh, Chief Clinical Nutritionist at Fortis says,

Healthy women are the cornerstone of healthy societies. If a woman is healthy, she will have healthy children and will make sure her family eat and stays healthy, which will result in a healthier future. Therefore it is of utmost importance that our women eat healthy diets and have proper nutrition.

Sharing tips of having good nutrition and a balanced diet, Dr Seema Singh added that women should swear by the power of iron and calcium-rich foods. She said,

Eat dark leafy green vegetables, eggs, egg yolk, red meat, jaggery, almonds and nuts, this way you will be sorted with the superpower of iron, which serves several important functions such as carrying oxygen throughout your body as a part of red blood cells. Apart from iron, take the benefits of calcium from milk and milk-based products, as this plays an important role in maintaining women’s bone health.

National Nutrition Month: Five Must Have Nutrients For A Pregnant Woman
Protein helps the placenta, that provides oxygen and nutrients to the foetus, function better

Dr Charu Dua, Chief Clinical Nutritionist, Max Super Specialty Hospital, on the other hand, talked about the importance of nutrition for the expecting or new mothers. She says a lactating woman needs about 500 calories more than non-pregnant and non-lactating women, so gulping on a protein-rich diet for them is a must as protein is the storehouse of energy. She recommends a healthy combo of protein along with cereals/rotis or rice.

Protein is very crucial as tissue’s building blocks and fosters growth. The newborn baby’s nutrition depends on their mother so the new moms must incorporate eggs, lean meat, fish, peanut butter, beans or other sources of protein in their diet.

Clinical Nutritionist Lovneet Batra talking about the problem of anaemia in women says,

The root cause of anaemia is the lack of vital nutrients, especially iron in women’s body. For women, having an iron-rich diet is a must. If you are a vegetarian, go for beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, soybeans. Lentils should be the go-to food if you are looking for iron-rich vegetarian diet. Daal can be added in the diet in the form of a daal-cheela, daal-idli and daal-rice. Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, silverbeet, kale and mustard greens are a brilliant source of iron too.

Also Read: 5 Foods To Eliminate Iron Deficiency Anaemia

How Nutrition During First 1000 Days And Anaemia In Mothers Is Linked To Malnutrition In Children
Prevalence of anaemia among women in India

Also Read: How Did This Chhattisgarh District Become The ‘Breastfeeding Champion’ Of The Country

Highlighting more benefits of iron in women’s body, Dr Charu Dua adds that iron plays an important part for breastfeeding mothers. It helps fight Anaemia and also helps to recover the loss of blood during delivery. Moreover, iron aids in the development of the baby’s brain and blood cells.

Sharing a tip for the new moms Dr Seema Singh added,

Plant sources of iron are best utilised by the body when accompanied by vitamin C, which is found in citrus fruits or lemon. So eat your dark leafy green vegetables but remember to add a pinch of lemon.

Also Read: National Health Profile 2019 Takeaways: While Life Expectancy Rises To 68.7 Years, There Is Only One Government Doctor For More Than 10,500 People In India

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