Growing up, your mother was your superwoman — the one who made it all right. As she ages, you grow more worried about her and then Mother’s Day becomes less about showering presents and more about ensuring her good health.
Shocking studies show that one out of every 28 Indian women suffers from breast cancer. And this is not all; there are several other health-related issues that women suffer from. Sheela Krishnaswamy, diet, nutrition and wellness consultant, talks about three most common ailments and provides dietary tips to avoid them.
Studies show that about 90 per cent of the world’s female population comprises anemic women. Anemia occurs if there is a decrease in the number of red blood cells or if the hemoglobin count is low. “But anemia can be easily detected early as the face and skin become pale and start to look lifeless,” says Krishnaswamy, adding, “Women suffering from anemia get tired easily.”
Including a few foods rich in iron can prevent anemia. “While red meat and organ meats like liver are the best sources of the nutrient, soy, green leafy vegetables like mint and spinach can be consumed by vegetarians. Eating a handful of almonds can also help, as they have a high percentage of copper, which when combined with iron, can accelerate the growth of red blood cells in the body,”
“The Women’s Heart Foundation states that worldwide, about 8.6 million women die from heart diseases each year,” says Krishnaswamy. The right kind of fat intake can avoid heart diseases. “Include adequate fibre in your diet, and cut down on high cholesterol foods, fried and oily dishes,” suggests Krishnaswamy, adding, “The fat in almonds is mono-unsaturated — a type of fat which has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol levels.”
A Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce the incidence of major cardiovascular events in those who are at risk. “The diet emphasises on replacing butter with fats such as olive oil and including variety of nuts, along with a moderate consumption of meat,” explains Krishnaswamy.
This bone disease affects women above the age of 50, though the foundation is laid in the thirties. The World Health Organization states that one out of three females suffer from osteoporosis, with India being one of the largest affected countries.
Vitamin D and calcium deficiencies in early years can cause this ailment in the later years. “Bone mass begins declining in most women in their mid-thirties, accelerates for three to five years around the time of menopause, and then continues to decline at the rate of about 1-1.5 per cent per year,” she explains.
But it can be tackled earlier by consuming foods rich in calcium and magnesium. “Foods like soy bean, green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds and almonds, along with adequate sunlight exposure, can help women control or prevent this disease,” says Krishnaswamy.