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Women’s health and nutrition

By Cherice Bronte-Tinkew

It takes a lot to fill the shoes of a woman. Women today take on many roles in the lives of all. Besides running the household, raising children, playing sports, multitasking, women are career-driven, ambitious, and proud.

A woman’s health and diet can also change throughout her life cycle. Some medical conditions women can experience in their early years or childbearing years include Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Amenorrhea, Premenstrual Syndrome, and Infertility.

Diet can play an important role in managing or preventing conditions such as these. A wide variety of foods are always encouraged to increase the chances of getting all the nutrients needed for a healthy life. There are, however, a few important nutrients women can benefit more from.

Iron is needed to increase the blood supply for women in their childbearing years. Foods which are high in iron include chicken, beef, fish, dark green leafy vegetables, iron fortified foods, peas, beans, nuts, and seeds. Vitamin C foods such as oranges and portugals are helpful for the body to absorb iron from dark green leafy vegetables, peas, and beans.

Please note, even though beetroots are red like the colour of blood, they are not high in iron, but they are high in potassium. Great for your blood pressure though!

Folic Acid or Folate is recommended both in supplement and foods in pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects in newborns. Folate is a B vitamin and helps with preventing medical conditions such as Anaemia (low red blood cell count) too. Good food sources are cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, peas, and beans.

Calcium, of course is important for healthy bones and teeth. Did you know women are at a higher risk for bone loss entering menopause? Great sources of calcium include dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt, soy, dark green leafy vegetables, fish with edible bones such as salmon and sardines. Vitamin D helps with the absorption of Calcium and a great non-food source is sunlight.

Omega 3 fats contain anti-inflammatory properties and is needed in hormone production.

Before you reach for the supplements, note you can get this essential fat from eating fish, flaxseeds, nuts or adding olive oil, flaxseed oil, and avocado to meals.

You can now understand why avocado toast was trending all over the world at one point on the internet. Try out the recipe to add these helpful foods to your diet.

Cherice Bronte-Tinkew is a registered dietitian. She is a member of the Board of Nutritionists and Dietitians and the owner of a private online nutrition practice, JustCher Nutrition.

Facebook and Instagram pages-@JustCherNutrition.

Email- justchernutri@gmail.com

References: Davis, M., MPH, RDN (2020) Eat your vitamins, your guide to using natural foods to get the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs.



Recipe for Black Bean and Spinach Patties

Yield: 8 small patties or 4 large patties


  • ¼ cup chopped onions
  • ¼ cup grated carrots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped seasonings (chive, celery, pimento, shadon beni, garlic, grated ginger)
  • 1 tablespoon of geera powder
  • ¾ cup of spinach leaves (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 can of black beans (low sodium version is recommended)
  • ½ teaspoon of low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ cup oats


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degree F/190 degree Celsius.
  2. Sauté onion, carrot, geera powder, spinach and chopped seasonings in 1 tablespoon of oil, add to the peas/beans and soy sauce.
  3. Mash beans/peas and seasoning together in a bowl. Mix in oats. A food processor or blender can be used to mix ingredients.
  4. Form 8 balls with the mixture and flatten gently to form a burger shape (9 cm diameter).
  5. Place on greased baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.