Women, in general, are always known to eat less than men, a part of which is true because women need fewer calories than men. Men packing more muscle mass than women are one of the main reasons for this difference in calorie requirement (muscle burns calories). So women generally require fewer calories than men because an average woman holds less muscle than average men.
But does that mean women need fewer micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals) than men?
No. It’s actually the opposite.
Women need fewer calories yet require a tad higher amounts of certain vitamins and minerals than men. For example, monthly blood loss during menstruation puts them at higher risk of anemia, making Iron essential nutrient for their health. And hence they need higher amounts of Iron through foods than men. Similarly, Calcium is one of those micro nutrients than women need more than men.
Why does a woman need more Calcium than men?
In short: Higher risk of Osteoporosis in women is the reason why women need more calcium than men.
Calcium is the most important nutrient of the human body that plays a major role in the development of bones and teeth. As estrogen levels take a dip in women after the menopause, less calcium is absorbed through diet and to make up for it, calcium is broken down from the bones making them brittle over course of time at a faster rate. This is the phase women need calcium more than ever. Suboptimal consumption of Calcium over time results in a degenerative bone disorder like Osteopenia (early stage) and subsequently Osteoporosis in the long term. This degenerative bone condition decreases mobility and drastically increases the risk of fractures in women. To summarize, Women in general, make less bone than men in their lifetime and lose the bone at a faster rate after their menopause and live longer making it difficult as they age.
So do only elder women require more Calcium?
Elder women are more benefited from higher Calcium intake. But women in general, require adequate amounts of Calcium because prevention of this degenerative condition starts with adequate intake of the Calcium right from childhood or else there is a chance of facing the problems like joint pains in knee and hip in the feature.
How much is Calcium do women need?
According to researchers, women below age 50 needs 1000 mg/day and elder women above age 50 need 1200 mg/day. Milk and dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, canned fish, baked beans, cruciferous vegetables and some of the good sources of Calcium. Elder women whose dietary choices are limited can take help from the dietary supplements to fill their daily requirements. That said, lower salt intake and adequate Vitamin D is essential for Calcium absorption in both men and women. So it is advisable to couple the Calcium-rich foods with Vitamin D foods or supplements.
Biologically women are built not much different from men. But their natural phases like menstruation, pregnancy lactation, and menopause take a toll on their body and hence they need higher amounts of nutrients to recuperate and self heal.
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