The following pages discuss how important calcium, vitamin D, iron, folate, iodine, phytoestrogen and omega-3 are to your bones, immune system, cell growth and our mental health. You will find information on the recommended daily intake of these nutrients for women at different ages and how best to include these nutrients in your diet.
How important is calcium to our bones? You will also find information on the changes that happen to bones as women age, the recommended daily calcium intake for women at different ages, the calcium content of different foods and types of calcium supplements.
Vitamin D has many important roles in the body including helping with calcium absorption, cell growth and maintaining a healthy immune system to fight disease and illness. Find out about these important roles as well as vitamin D deficiency, how to test for vitamin D deficiency and where to get vitamin D.
Phytoestrogens (plant oestrogens) are substances that occur naturally in plants. They have a similar chemical structure to our own body's oestrogen (one of the main female hormones), and are able to bind to the same receptors that our own oestrogen does.
Phytoestrogens behave differently to female oestrogen and this depends on the oestrogen's environment (whether a woman is in her reproductive years and has higher oestrogen, or is postmenopausal with lower oestrogen), how they bind to the oestrogen receptor and particularly to which oestrogen receptor they bind to.
Eating phytoestrogens can produce either some of the same effects as human oestrogen (oestrogenic effects) or opposed effects (anti-oestrogenic effects). Which effects are triggered depends on existing levels of oestrogen in the body and how the phytoestrogens bind to receptors in the body.