To Your Health
May, 2007 (Vol. 01, Issue 05)
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Folic Acid
Good Sources: fortified cereal, green leafy veggies, whole grains, bread.

Folic acid is vital for women of childbearing age and women trying to conceive. According to the National Academy of Sciences, women of childbearing age should consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. Folic acid guards against birth defects in babies and may prevent some cancers, genetic diseases and heart disease.

Good Sources: water, sports drinks, tea, natural juices.

Drink at least 2.5 liters of fluid per day. Fluids are often overlooked in the nutrient category. Although we need them to live, we usually don't think of them as necessary nutrients. Athletes and very active women need more fluids than those who aren't as active. Dehydration contributes to fatigue more than any other nutrient deficiency.

Women of different races standing in a group. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Fiber
Good Sources: bran muffins, whole-grain cereal, apples, pears, raw veggies.

Fiber helps the digestive tract move and prevents diseases such as colon cancer. The lack of fiber is more common than most women suspect. Some symptoms include feeling sluggish for an extended period of time, feeling bloated, and waking up feeling tired and "blue."

Good Sources: meats (steak, pork, chicken, ground beef), seafood, juices, cereal.

Women may lose up to 15-20 mg of iron each month after menstruation. Iron-deficiency anemia is very common in young women. Iron is needed to make new cells, proteins and hormones. Iron also helps protect the body against infection.

Many of today's health problems, including birth defects, premature births, osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension, strokes and heart disease, can be reduced or prevented by a healthy diet and lifestyle. I would be remiss if I did not at least mention regular exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise can help improve self-esteem, mental health and physical health. Twenty to 30 minutes of exercise, three times a week, can help reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

Chelsea Cooper, MPA, CPT, is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a personal trainer, performance enhancement specialist, and rehab and exercise specialist. To learn more, visit