Mars vs Venus: Understanding the His and Hers of Nutritional Needs
Mars vs Venus: Understanding the His and Hers of Nutritional Gaps
Although their DNAs are pretty similar in composition, men and women need different amounts of nutrients due to different body sizes and exercise levels. All vitamins and minerals are essential for both women and men, but taking too much or too little of a particular nutrient may be harmful to each gender. It is best to know the different nutritional gaps between men and women.
Having on average 23 kg more lean muscle mass than women, men require more calories to function properly. More muscles mean more circulating blood cells that require energy. On average, men need 2,500 calories per day while women need 2,000 calories.
Similar to calorie intake, men need more protein than women because of their heavier weight and muscle mass. Typically, men require 58 grams of proteins while women need 42 grams. However, this figure may vary depending on each person's weight. Some symptoms of protein deficiency are lethargy, anxiety and muscle soreness. If you have been experiencing these symptoms, you need to consume more protein.
A study by the Institute of Medicine(i) revealed that men need more vitamin C than women. The recommended daily vitamin C intake for men is 90 mg while women only need 75 mg. Vitamin C is essential in boosting your immune system and antioxidant level. Those who smoke require 35 mg more vitamin C daily than those who don't.
Calcium is essential for both genders, but women require calcium significantly more than men do. Women generally have a thinner bone composition, making them prone to osteoporosis. Also, women in the child-bearing period(ii) need plenty of calcium to develop the baby's skeleton well. The lack of calcium during pregnancy may result in the babies absorbing the nutrient from their mothers' bones.
Compared to men, women need much more iron(iii) because of their menstruation cycles. Menstruation causes blood loss varying from an ounce during the light period to a cup during the heavy period. Women need to include more iron-rich food in their diets to meet the nutritional requirement of 18 mg of iron daily -- men only need 8 mg of iron daily.
Women, especially during pregnancy(iv), need more folic acid than men. On a daily basis, both men and women have to take 400 micrograms of folic acid, but the intake for women should increase to 800 micrograms during pregnancy. Folic acid is crucial in lowering the risk of brain and defects in the fetus, especially in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Because women may find out about their pregnancy late, maintaining the daily intake of folic acid is crucial.
Striking a balanced diet is not easy for both men and women. That is why taking multivitamins can help to fill the nutritional gaps. By now you should understand that men and women have different dietary requirements, and so, each will have a different type of multivitamins to meet their nutritional needs. It is critical that you take multivitamins that are made specifically for your gender, and make sure you take them regularly!
- Abbaspour, N., Hurrell, R., & Kelishadi, R. (2014). Review on iron and its importance for human health. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 19 (2), 164-174.
- Barua, S., Kuizon, S., & Junaid, M. A. (2014). Folic acid supplementation in pregnancy and implications in health and disease. Journal of Biomedical Science, 21 (77).