Nutritional recommendations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Institute of Medicine are based on gender and age. As a 37-year-old woman, your nutritional needs are different from men your age and women of other age groups. Following the recommendations for your specific gender and age group helps ensure that your nutritional needs are met.
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Fruits and Vegetables
Eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables might reduce the risk of heart disease and prevent cancer. Fruits and vegetables are also a good source of fiber, which might reduce the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. As a 37-year-old woman, you should aim to get approximately 1 1/2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day. A one-cup serving of vegetables might consist of one cup of cooked or raw vegetables, one cup of vegetable juice or two cups of raw leafy greens.
Consuming whole grains might help you prevent constipation, maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of heart disease. Grain recommendations from the USDA are based on servings that are equivalent to 1 oz. A 1 oz. equivalent of whole grain might include one cup of dry cereal, one slice of bread or a half cup of cooked cereal, pasta or rice. You should get 6 oz. of whole grains each day as a 37-year-old female, with 3 oz. of that coming directly from whole grains.
Protein helps bodies build bones, muscles, tissues, skin, cartilage, enzymes, vitamins and hormones. Protein intake recommendations from the USDA are also based on servings that are equivalent to 1 oz. A 1 oz. serving of poultry, meat or fish; 1 tbsp. of peanut butter; a 1/4 cup serving of beans; 1 egg; or a 1/2 oz. serving of nuts or seeds each is considered to be a 1 oz. equivalent of protein. You should get at least 5 oz. equivalents of protein each day.
Dairy intake is associated with good bone health, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of osteoporosis. The dairy recommendation from the USDA is the same for everyone over the age of 8, regardless of age and gender. All people over 8 years old, including a 37-year-old woman, should get about three cups of dairy a day. A one-cup serving of dairy might include one cup of yogurt, one cup of milk, one cup of soymilk, 1 1/2 oz. of natural cheese or 2 oz. of processed cheese.
Vitamins and Minerals
Although the USDA nutritional recommendations are designed to help you meet your nutritional needs, you should also keep an eye on your overall vitamin and mineral intake. The recommended reference intakes, established by the Institute of Medicine, suggest you get 700 mcg of vitamin A, 75 mg of vitamin C, 15 mcg of vitamin D, 90 mcg of vitamin K, 1.1 mg of thiamine, 1.1 mg of riboflavin, 14 mg of niacin, 1.3 mg of vitamin B6, 400 mcg of folate, 2.4 mcg of vitamin B-12, 5 mg of pantothenic acid, 30 mcg of biotin and 425 mg of choline. In addition, you should also get at least 1,000 mg of calcium, 25 mcg of chromium, 900 mcg of copper, 150 mcg of iodine, 18 mg of iron, 320 mg of magnesium, 1.8 mg of manganese, 45 mcg of molybdenum, 700 mg of phosphorus, 8 mg of zinc, 4,700 mg of potassium, 1,500 mg of sodium and 2,300 mg of chloride a day.
Keep in mind that while these nutritional guidelines serve the needs of most 37-year-old women, your specific needs might vary. Your lifestyle, medical condition and previous nutritional intake might cause you to need more or less of certain food groups, vitamins or minerals. If you have specific questions about your nutritional intake, talk to a doctor or dietitian.