For Women Only

Women—this chapter is meant especially for you and your unique nutrition needs!

Only in the past fifteen to twenty years have women's unique health needs received much attention in medical research. Until then, women's health needs were projected in studies done mostly with men! Except for pregnancy and breast-feeding, health concerns for women were largely ignored. Today medical research, health promotion, and healthcare address gender differences. And nutrition often is center stage in initiatives for women's health.

Consider briefly a few gender-related nutrition differences. Of course, you need the same nutrients that men do—perhaps more of some, depending on your age. Yet, if you're physically smaller, you likely need fewer calories to deliver those nutrients.

Unless men shift their physical activity level, the nutrition needs of healthy males don't change much over a lifetime. That's not true for women. Complexities of the reproductive system, the ups and downs of female hormones, and the physical demands of child-bearing affect nutrition needs and healthcare. Menstruation, pregnancy, breast-feeding, and menopause all have nutrition implications.

  • If you 're in your reproductive years, check the beginning of the chapter for healthful eating advice specific to women's health.
  • For nutrition advice during pregnancy and breast-feeding, go to the middle of the chapter.
  • If you 're near or dealing with menopause, turn to the chapter end, where you'll find nutrition guidance for your continued health and well-being.
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