The Nutritional Differences Between Sexes

March 5, 2010

Diets & Nutrition

Among other differences, the nutritional needs of women and men are very different. There are a number of nutrients that must be supplied in different quantities for the two sexes, such as calcium, iron, the omega-3 fatty acid or proteins.

Calcium is important for women, especially to lower the risk of osteoporosis. A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D has been shown to decrease the incidence fractures. In addition, calcium is important in regulating blood pressure. Therefore, adult women should have a daily intake of 1,000 mg of calcium. After menopause the calcium intake should be increased to 1200 mg.

Osteoporosis is the enemy of men as well, and therefore they must have calcium in their diets constantly. Studies have shown that if an adequate calcium nutrition is ensured the incidence of prostate cancer in men decreases. The daily amount of calcium recommended for men of all ages is 800 mg.

Iron is an important factor for women, due to losses during monthly menstruation. Symptoms of iron deficiency and anemia are: fatigue, lack of concentration and difficulty in breathing. The diagnosis for anemia is made only by doctors. Iron is a great fatigue treatment. Taking iron supplements is not recommendation without first talking to your doctor. For women younger than 50 years, we recommend 18 mg of iron per day and after menopause a dose of 8 mg per day. Men need iron, but not in so large quantities, because studies have shown that a diet that is too rich in iron is associated with an increased incidence of myocardial infarction in men. A quantity of up to 8 mg of iron per day is enough to ensure their body needs of iron.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fat that has been shown to play an important role in reducing triglyceride levels, increase the beneficial component of cholesterol (HDL), preventing formation of thrombus (clots), etc… For pregnant women, for the fetus and, generally, for women and children, omega-3 fatty acids should be provided both by fish (cod, mackerel, sardines, salmon), and nuts or seeds. There is no official amount of omega-3 fatty acids that should be ingested daily, but by eating fish 3 times a week you can cover the needs of your body in relation to this nutrient.

Proteins are substances that give energy, help tissues grow and regenerate. Because of hyperproteic trendy diets, unfortunately too much protein is consumed. It is a known fact that excess proteins favor the elimination of calcium from a woman’s body and increases the risk of osteoporosis. So a woman needs no more than 1 g of protein per 2 pounds of body weight per day. But men have a higher need of protein daily, primarily because they have a higher body weight. Athletes of both sexes and pregnant women need a higher intake of proteins.

As you can see the nutritional needs are another criteria for differentiation of women and men and another argument in favor of their belonging to two different planets: women are from Venus and men are from Mars.

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