By Deepali Shukla, Kolkata, Feb 26 IBNS | 10 months ago

The modern day has consistently faced an increasing tide of work and personal lifestyle related stress, disorders and resultantly inadequate or even improper nutrition.

At a time, when health disorders arising from dietary issues are on the rise, coupled with pressure or stress at work or at home, the new age Indian woman is in a situation of ever increasing need for a wholesome diet and nutritional supplements to ensure proper preventive healthcare.

"Women are God's most beautiful creation" - is an oft quoted adage which most women have either forgotten or just choose to ignore in their daily rigmarole of responsibility. While, Indian women are spending more to add to their external beauty and aesthetics, their focus on inner beauty and health is not as much as is required.

Recent studies have shown that Indian working women tend to spend nearly one-third of their incomes on themselves splurging on everything from cosmetics to cars. This trend of increased spending would go up as 50 million urban women would be employed in corporate managerial jobs by 2020. However not much of this spending goes to care of health as it goes to the purchase of beauty and cosmetic products

While this trend reflects the economic independence of modern Indian women it is observed that urban women in India are under nourished, have vitamin and protein deficiencies, and therefore are increasingly becoming vulnerable to lifestyle disorders and ailments such as hypertension and diabetes.

Mounting work pressure and growing demands at home leave no time for them for either adequate rest or physical exercise. Interestingly lifestyles disorders are no longer restricted to urban areas as thousands of rural women in states like Maharashtra have also been found suffering from hypertension and diabetes. Recent studies have shown that 53pc of working women skip meals and indulge in junk food due to work-time pressures. Further, 60pc of Indian working women between the age of 30 and 40 have exhibited symptoms of exhaustion, irritability and insomnia.

According to the World Health Organisation Indians are among the worlds most depressed and the burden of depression is 50pc higher for females than males. Another research by WHO shares alarming findings that Osteoporosis-a global health challenge has worst hit Indians. 36 million people in India are estimated to suffer from Osteoporosis by 2013 and one in three women is at risk of an osteoporotic fracture. There are more alarming findings that predict that three fourth of women in India are anaemic.

It is therefore imperative for the women to focus more on nutrition and balanced diet and adopt healthy lifestyle that includes physical exercise and positive thinking.

Essential nutrients required in higher quantity at different stages of life of a woman: -

Iron : A woman loses 60mg of iron every month after she attains puberty and therefore she may risk turning anaemic. At this stage there should be more emphasis on iron supplementation that boost metabolism and keep fatigue at bay.

Folic Acid is another important nutrient that a woman needs during and after pregnancy as Folic Acid is required for the development of neural tube in babies that leads to the development of central nervous system in the baby.

Calcium: is one such nutrient that women would need in higher amount over men as woman possesses 33pc less calcium than a man of equal weight. Moreover certain life stages like pregnancy/lactation and menopause calls for more calcium.

Omega 3 Fatty acid: A very important nutrient which the body cannot manufacture. It is vital for heart health, brain health, IQ and nerve health and vision health in the babies.

In order to stay healthy, Indian women should increase the intake of unprocessed food, vegetables and fruits rich in these nutrients.

However increased use of pesticides in farming causes depletion of the nutrients in vegetables and fruits, hence dietary supplements if used sensibly can also help bridge the gap of nutrients in the diet.

Besides bridging the gap of nutrients in diet, Dietary supplements can also help women to deal with the phases like Menopause. Nutrilite- world's number one vitamins and dietary supplements brand from Amway offers Nutrilite Black Cohosh and Soy that supports the overall wellbeing of women during menopause by easing out symptoms like hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings.

Nutrition is fairly important to bring lifestyle diseases under control among women. It is also crucial to raise the awareness level about the need of nutrition to stay healthy.

(The writer Deepali Shukla is Head Nutrition and Wellness, Amway Europe, India and Africa.)

(Posted on 26-02-2014)

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