Women’s health and nutrition are closely intertwined, with proper nutrition playing a crucial role in maintaining good health throughout a woman’s life. The female body goes through many changes over the course of a lifetime, including menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. Each of these stages requires specific nutritional considerations to support overall health and prevent the onset of conditions such as osteoporosis, endometriosis, PCOS and breast cancer.
Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years.1 As hormone levels decline, women experience a range of symptoms, including hot flashes and sleep disturbances.1 Menopause can result in decreased insulin sensitivity, which can impair your body’s ability to use insulin effectively.2 Therefore, some research has suggested that a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates can be beneficial for menopausal women, as it can improve insulin sensitivity.2
Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become brittle and fragile, making them more susceptible to fractures.3 Women are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis than men, especially after menopause, due to the decline in oestrogen levels.3
To prevent or manage osteoporosis, women need to ensure they are getting enough calcium and vitamin D. They should also aim to get enough vitamin K, which helps support bone health. Good sources of vitamin K include leafy greens, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. In addition, a diet rich in protein can help increase muscle mass, which is important for maintaining bone density.3
Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus, causing pain and inflammation.4 While the exact cause of endometriosis is unknown, research suggests that nutrition may play a role in managing symptoms.4
Some studies have suggested that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation and pain associated with endometriosis.5 On the other hand, a diet high in red meat, trans fats, and processed foods may increase inflammation and worsen symptoms.5 Studies have also shown that diets that are high-protein and low-carbohydrate can help reduce inflammation, which is a key factor in endometriosis.5
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age.6 Symptoms may include irregular periods, excess facial and body hair, and weight gain. Nutrition plays a crucial role in managing PCOS, as weight loss can improve symptoms.6
Women with PCOS should aim to maintain a healthy weight by eating a balanced diet and engaging in regular physical activity. A diet that is low in carbohydrates and high in protein may also be beneficial for managing insulin resistance, which is common in women with PCOS.6 Women with PCOS often have insulin resistance, which can lead to weight gain and difficulty losing weight. A high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet can help regulate insulin levels, improve glucose tolerance, and promote weight loss.6
Breast cancer is a common form of cancer that affects women. While genetics and other factors play a role in the development of breast cancer, nutrition can also have an impact.
Research suggests that a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources may help reduce the risk of breast cancer.7 On the other hand, a diet that is high in saturated and trans fats, red meat, and processed foods may increase the risk. 7 While the causes of breast cancer are complex, there is evidence to suggest that a diet high in carbohydrates and low in protein may increase the risk of developing breast cancer. 8 A high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet can help reduce this risk by providing the body with essential nutrients and promoting weight loss. 8
How does Be Fit Food take women’s health into account?
Be Fit Food’s Be Rapid program meets over 100% of daily estimated average requirements (EAR’s), excluding zinc (95%), and over 100% of all recommended daily intakes (RDI’s), excluding zinc (80%) and calcium (90%). This is calculated from averages of all meals, including our vegetarian range. Our program is nutritionally complete as it contain foods from all five food groups and meets strict nutritional parameters. We supply a Recommended Extras list that provides a variety of optional additional items to include in your meal program. This is an opportunity to target and increase certain micronutrients and tailor to your own needs i.e. including milk or yoghurt as a protein snack to increase calcium intake.
Be Fit Food meals are made from high quality, wholesome and fresh ingredients including a wide array of seasonal vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. The meals also contain healthy sources of protein including lean beef, skinless chicken breasts and tenderloins, tofu and white fish. Each BFF meal contains 4-12 different vegetables, making them not only nourishing, but a good source of fibre as well. We use a wide range of wholegrains in our meals as well as high protein, low carbohydrate pasta. Each meal is designed to provide essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, folate and B group vitamins.
- Peacock K, Ketvertis KM. Menopause. [Updated 2022 Aug 11]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507826/
- Hamdy O, Tasabehji MW, Elseaidy T, Tomah S, Ashrafzadeh S, Mottalib A. Fat Versus Carbohydrate-Based Energy-Restricted Diets for Weight Loss in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes. Curr Diab Rep. 2018 Oct 17;18(12):128. doi: 10.1007/s11892-018-1103-4. PMID: 30328516; PMCID: PMC6209021.
- Kevin D. Cashman, Diet, Nutrition, and Bone Health, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 137, Issue 11, November 2007, Pages 2507S–2512S, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/137.11.2507S
- Huijs E, Nap A. The effects of nutrients on symptoms in women with endometriosis: A systematic review. Reproductive BioMedicine Online. 2020;41(2):317–28.
- Arab, A., Karimi, E., Vingrys, K. et al. Food groups and nutrients consumption and risk of endometriosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Nutr J 21, 58 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12937-022-00812-x
- Lin, A.W., Siscovick, D., Sternfeld, B. et al. Associations of diet, physical activity and polycystic ovary syndrome in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Women’s Study. BMC Public Health 21, 35 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-10028-5
- Xiao, Y., Xia, J., Li, L. et al. Associations between dietary patterns and the risk of breast cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Breast Cancer Res 21, 16 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13058-019-1096-1
- Anne McTiernan; Diet and Prognosis in Women with Breast Cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1 February 2021; 30 (2): 252–254. https://doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1506