Eat smart

You probably know a bit about nutrition at this point and have most likely tried dieting to lose weight a few times, too. You know what you should be doing to stay healthy, but choosing those options can be hard when you’re so busy. Instead of going over nutrition information in detail, we are going to talk about what you need most to keep those eating habits in shape. If you want to find out more about basic nutrition, click here.

Fruits and veggies: More matters! Fruits and veggies provide the unrivaled combination of great taste and nutrition; they are nature’s perfect convenience food! Eating lots of fruits and veggies is the cornerstone of a healthy diet. Research shows that women who eat lots of fruits and veggies weigh less and have lower risks of some diseases.

The nutrients you need most in your mid 20’s to mid 30’s are iron, calcium and folic acid. You need 18 milligrams of iron every day to help combat anemia and keep your immune system in tip-top shape. Lean beef, pork, beans and some fortified cereals are iron-rich foods. If you are concerned about your iron level, consider being tested for anemia. You may need to take an additional iron supplement; ask your health care provider which one is right for you.

Bone mass peaks in your 20’s before starting to decline in the next decade, so now is the time to make your bones as healthy as possible. Get enough calcium and vitamin D each day. The Dietary Reference Intake for women is 1,000 milligrams or about three servings of calcium each day. Fat-free milk and low-fat dairy products are excellent sources of calcium. (Weight-bearing or impact exercises are good for maintaining bone mass, so don’t forget to move more.) We get vitamin D from the sun and also from milk.

Some studies show that folic acid might prevent some cancers and help prevent neural tube birth defects. Take 400 mcg of folic acid every day. The best source of folic acid comes from a daily multivitamin, but you can also find folic acid in fortified cereals. For more information about folic acid, click here.

Revised: May 30, 2011

This web site is designed for informational use only; it is not designed to give advice, diagnose, cure or treat any medical condition you may have. If you have any questions about your health, please contact your health care provider.