15 essential nutrition tips every woman should know

Forget expensive supplements, deprivation and detoxing. These nutritionist-backed tips prove the secret to women’s wellbeing is surprisingly simple.

There’s so much advice out there about women’s health, it can sometimes feel overwhelming.

But our experts say the truth is refreshingly simple.

From boosting bone health to powering up on protein, these 15 female-focussed tips are your go-to guide for a healthier you.

Don’t skip meals

“It feels like there are so many rules and tips directed at women around fasting, timing of meals, intermittent fasting,” nutritionist Kristen Beck says.

“But in reality, we should seize the opportunity of every meal to eat enough of the nutritious food we need to be healthy and happy.”

Eat more iron

Women need twice as much iron as men due to menstrual blood loss, but research shows up to 18 per cent of Australian women are iron deficient.

So, load your plate with lean, red meat, poultry, seafood, beans, lentils, kale and fortified cereals.

Boost bone health

Women are at much greater risk than men of developing osteoporosis – particularly after menopause – so it’s important to get plenty of calcium to support bone health.

Good sources include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, grains, tofu and almonds.

Power-up on protein

Protein is essential for balancing hormone levels, weight management, digestion, a healthy immune system, glowing skin and lean, toned muscles, according to clinical nutritionist Rachel Eagleton.

“Women should aim for 20-30g of protein in every meal,” Rachel says.

Hydrate to feel great

“Water contains no kilojoules or sugar, (it) curbs appetite, keeps skin hydrated and youthful, and even makes exercise feel easier,” Kristen says.

“This is the simplest, cheapest and most overlooked piece of dietary advice for women: Drink about two litres of water every day.”

The good oil

Make the switch to healthier oils such as extra virgin olive oil, avocado and nut oils to protect against heart disease – a leading cause of death for Australian women.

“Healthy unsaturated fats also have an anti-inflammatory effect,” Kristen says.

Eat more plants

Eating a range of plants is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and breast cancer.

Rachel says ideally you should include 30 different plants each week.

“So count your plant foods and try to increase them,” Rachel says.

Feast on fish

Research shows omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and inflammation, boost hormone production, and ease menstrual cramps.

Fibre is your friend

Fibre improves blood cholesterol and lowers the risk of diseases women are prone to such as heart disease, diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome.

It also helps you feel full so you can maintain a healthy weight.

Make sure you are getting enough by eating plenty of whole grains, vegetables, beans and pulses.

Snack smart

Beat the mid-afternoon sugar cravings with a healthy snack.

“You make your kids a snack – make yourself one too,” Rachel says.

“Try corn thins with ricotta and tomato, humus or tzatziki with veggies, or a small handful of nuts and an apple.”

Save money

Unless you’re pregnant or have a deficiency, expensive supplements are a waste of money, Rachel says.

“Instead of spending your hard-earned dollars on a greens powder, buy a bag of carrots and a bag of apples,” she says.

Don’t detox

“You don’t need to detox – your liver and kidneys do this for you every day for free,” Rachel says.

Help them out by drinking plenty of water; reducing alcohol and caffeine; and swapping processed foods for fruit, nuts, vegetables, legumes and seeds.

Promote gut health

According to a recent study, women with good gut bacteria feel happier and more hopeful.

“Natural yoghurt, kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi contain healthy bacteria that rebalance beneficial gut bacteria, aid digestion and reduce stress and appetite,” Kristen says.

Let go of guilt

Many women have a complicated relationship with food that leads to feelings of guilt and unhealthy eating habits like yo-yo dieting.

But food is there to be enjoyed, says Rachel.

“Don’t live a life of deprivation – fill up your plate with whole foods and crowd out the rubbish,” she says.

Eat more

Rachel says many women don’t eat enough calories to get them through their busy days. “Instead, try a decent breakfast with protein and fibre and make sure lunch contains quality carbs, lean protein and plenty of colour,” she says.

More nutrition tips:

Written by Dimity Barber.