Women are known to be multitaskers, right from managing their household chores to their careers. They are responsible for taking care of their children and family while balancing their personal and professional goals. In this hustle-bustle, most women tend to overlook their health.

Dr. Irfan Shaikh, Head Pediatric Nutrition, Scientific & Medical Affairs, Abbott's Nutrition businessWith International Women’s Day around the corner, it is essential for women to know why they must take care of their health with the right nutrition and indulge in an active lifestyle. This will help them keep moving, enabling them to continue and enjoy the simple everyday life. Dr. Irfan Shaikh, Head, Medical & Scientific Affairs at Abbott’s Nutrition Business shares 6 essential nutrients that should be present in every woman’s plate:

Calcium: Calcium helps to strengthen bones at every stage of life. Not many are aware that bones are constantly remodeling within the body. This replacement process often involves removing small amounts of calcium from the bones which are exchanged with new calcium. Therefore, it is necessary to consume adequate calcium to preserve bone density during this process. Products like lentils, beans, soybeans, and fatty fish along with fruits such as orange, guava, and papaya will help increase calcium levels in the body.

Iron: Iron is an essential micronutrient required as a component for a number of proteins, including enzymes and hemoglobin. The latter is important for the transport of oxygen to tissues throughout the body for metabolism. It is also required for many critical functions in the human body such as – energy metabolism, mixed-function oxidase systems, neurodevelopment, connective tissue synthesis, and hormone synthesis. Iron deficiency is the most common mineral deficiency seen in Indian women. Foods like nuts, dried fruit, legumes (mixed beans, baked beans, lentils, chickpeas), dark leafy green vegetables (spinach, broccoli), fish, red meat, etc can be good sources of iron.

Vitamin D: A vital mineral, vitamin D improves calcium and phosphate absorption, which is important for maintaining strong, healthy bones and better immune system regulation. Most people normally obtain Vitamin D through sunlight, but other sources include foods like mushrooms, soy milk, eggs, shrimp, and fatty fish[i]

Fibre: Soluble Fibre is the most effective nutrient to reduce cholesterol and sugar levels in the blood. Obtaining enough fibre in meals becomes crucial to achieve adequate nutrition since it aids in digestion and absorption. Foods high in fibre include oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, fruits, and vegetables. Also, drinking a lot of water helps you utilize the fibre in your meal to the fullest.

Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 helps in the functioning and development of red blood cells, the nervous system, and the brain. Fatigue and anemia can arise from a vitamin B12 deficiency, and as you become older, your body may become less prone to using B12. Blood samples should be thoroughly examined to develop a strategy for preventing illnesses. Foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy products can provide key vitamin B12.

Protein: A moderately high protein intake is required to maintain a positive nitrogen balance. It is also needed to offset lower energy intake, impaired insulin function and decrease in protein synthesis, all of which occur with ageing. Protein-rich foods constitute a balanced diet that maximizes energy and strength. Foods such as eggs, meat, fish, pulses, and legumes provide the required am