As if not already known, there are biological differences between women and men. These differences can provide a guideline for exercise, diet, and general aspects of health.
For example: The body fat percentage of women is naturally higher than that of men. On average - 27% versus 15% - for fit individuals. This knowledge alone can be a big help in setting exercise and weight loss goals, if the desired outcome is the reduction of body fat. This difference should be acknowledged by women trying to reduce body fat. It helps in setting a more realistic goal, and also helps in avoiding guilt.
The hormonal changes that women experience during the aging process are considerably different from those that men experience. Changes in both physiology and menstrual cycles can even occur in young women. For example: There were frequent occurrences of women in World War II concentration camps who stopped having normal menstrual cycles, due to the effects of starvation. Women athletes, with a high level of training, will often experience the same effect, resulting from very low percentages of body fat (and other causes).
Through regulating your intake of fat, along with other changes in diet, the undesired effects of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) can be improved by the stabilization of blood sugar levels. A higher amount of soluble fiber intake can help lessen mood swings. The soluble fiber reduces the rise in blood sugar levels. Some good sources of soluble fiber are beans, oats, and apples.
The balanced combining of carbohydrate and protein intake will slow the rise in blood sugar from the consumption of the carbohydrate. While ice cream can be a major comfort food for many, the 'comfort effect' doesn't last for long, plus, the needed balance is not provided. Rather than this, try increasing the consumption of vegetables and fresh fruits. Try walnuts, along with bananas.
There are certain conditions that women are more prone to having, such as fibromyalgia and arthritis, along with others. These symptoms can be made worse by the presence of food allergies. When plagued by these conditions, it is essential to have the proper testing done. At the same time, a healthy diet will undoubtedly help. Food substitutions can be made. Rice and soy beverages can be substituted for cows' milk. And, even wheat free bread is available that is also whole grain. For some, the avoidance of peanuts may be needed.
For some women suffering from rheumatic symptoms may discover they have an allergy to wheat. This can be lessened by a diet free of gluten. This would include eliminating, or substituting, certain products with wheat flour as a base. These could include pasta, breads, and cereals.
It is normal for menstrual cycles to be more irregular, and to experience changes in hormones during menopause. There are certain changes in diet than may help reduce discomfort during this period. Reducing the intake of sodium is one example. Substitutions for sodium can include garlic, lemon juice, and herbs. These help provide flavor, without the sodium.
Women during menopause are quite likely to experience benefits from the reduction of saturated fats - more so than even men or younger women. As levels of estrogen decline during menopause, the 'good cholesterol' (HDL) tends to fall, while the 'bad cholesterol' (LDL) tends to rise.
In general, the risk of heart attack is higher in men as their age increases, during the menopausal period in women the risk of heart attack is about the same as that of men of similar ages. This risk can be reduced by reducing the intake of trans fats and saturated fats.
The moderate consumption of wine can be beneficial, due to the antioxidants it provides. Also, it normally contains less calories than most alternatives.
Since women need more calcium for the prevention, or at least lessening, of osteoporosis, calcium loss can be reduced by lowering the intake of caffeine.
Of course, individual circumstances do vary by age and gender, and what may be the right diet for one individual can vary from person to person. Be sure to consider the right actions for your individual circumstance.
The key to your health is knowledge!