To celebrate and recognize all Filipino Women in society, National Women’s month is yearly celebrated and observed every March under Proclamation No. 227 s. 1988. The theme of the celebration for 2022 is "WE Make CHANGE Work for Women". This highlights the empowerment of women as harbingers of change that is anchored on malasakit at pagbabago.
Health and nutrition of every Juana is of utmost importance to empower her and become socially active and economically productive. Women experience changes in different life stages such as puberty, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause. Each stage requires special nutrient needs and it varies depending on the stage of a woman’s life. Thus, to ensure the health and nutrition of each Juana, here are some essential nutrients to remember:
Women of childbearing age and pregnant women need folic acid daily. This nutrient can be found in green leafy vegetables, peanuts, beans, citrus fruits, and fortified cereals. Folate helps reduce the risk od birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. Pregnant women are recommended to take folate (iron with folate) for 180 days.
Iron is one of the most essential nutrients for women. Women of childbearing age (15-49) need more than twice the amount of men’s iron requirement since there are iron losses during their menstruation period. Whereas pregnant women need a higher amount of iron to prevent anemia and complications during their delivery.
Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is one of the most common deficiencies in women since most of them do not meet enough amount of iron in their diet. A pregnant woman who has IDA is at greater risk of giving birth to low-birth-weight babies, which would give a negative impact on the health of the baby. Iron can be found in red meat, chicken and fish. It can also be found in fortified cereals, legumes and nuts and leafy green vegetables
- Vitamin C
To improve the absorption of iron in the body, it is recommended to eat vitamin C-rich foods alongside iron-rich foods. Fruits such as oranges, papaya and strawberries, and a variety of vegetables are good sources of vitamin C.
Iodine is a mineral that is important on normal mental development of the baby. Just like iron and folate, it is important that pregnant women have enough amount of iodine in the body. To increase the iodine intake, it is recommended to use iodized salt in the daily meal. Foods rich in iodine includes fish and seafood such as shrimps, cramps, seaweeds and others.
- Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium is important to keep the bones and teeth strong and healthy, regulate heart rhythm and ensure that the nervous system is properly functioning, as the person gets older. Women have a higher risk of having osteoporosis than men. As they get older, the need for calcium and vitamin D increases. It is important to have both calcium and enough vitamin D in the body since vitamin D is essential to the proper metabolism of calcium. Calcium-rich foods are milk, yogurt, cheese, sardines, and calcium-fortified foods and beverages.
As women age, the amount of water or fluid intake also increases. It is because organs responsible for filtration (kidneys) become less efficient at removing wastes as people age. Thus, drinking enough amount of water will help the kidneys in filtering waste products. It is recommended that an adult should drink 8-10 glasses of water a day.
Every Juana is encouraged to have a healthy eating habit coupled with regular physical activity to maintain a healthy body and to reduce the risk of diseases. Always remember the “10 Kumainments” and follow the Pinggang Pinoy for a healthy and happy life! Happy Women’s Month! ###FVV