Women are the backbone of a family and the society at large. An educated and health-conscious woman is the key to a fit and healthy family.

But while balancing the needs of everyone in the family, she tends to overlook her own well-being. In today's fast-paced, social media-driven world,she is under immense pressure to look and behave in a certain way. These demands may leave her with little time to maintain her own health and fitness.

Listed below are a few pointers to help women achieve a healthy body and a happy mind.

1) Stay active by exercising for at least 30 mins/day. Do not confuse your regular chores with exercise. Doing specific activities like dancing/swimming/running/yoga/cycling for 150 mins/week come under the domain of exercise.

2) Get 7-8 hours of shut-eye every single night. Maintaining a sleep pattern plays a restorative role for your body and mind.

3) Eat a simple, healthy and  nutritious diet. Take time out to sit down and eat peacefully in a gadget-free environment.

4) Reserve some part of the day for yourself.Pursue a hobby of your choice or catch-up with people who appreciate you. This is a great way to destress and give yourself some TLC.

5) Explore the art of cooking. Simple homely dishes cooked with your own hands are anyday more satisfying than a lavish meal at a fancy restaurant.

6) Love yourself the way you are. Do not attach your self-worth to the number on the weighing scale. Instead work towards becoming healthier and happier.

Women's dietary needs differ according to their age-groups. But listed below are a few general pointers for all women.

A] Have 3 main meals and 2 snacks everyday. Breakfast,the first meal of the day is also the most important one of the day. So never ever skip breakfast.

B] Make fruits and veggies part of each main meal. These should be fresh,seasonal and raw if possible. These form your main source of vitamins and anti-oxidants, boosting your immunity and keeping you protected from diseases.

C] Proteins should also be consumed with each meal. Healthy sources of proteins are dairy products, dals, pulses, egg, fish and chicken. Proteins are the foundation blocks of a healthy body. They maintain your hormonal balance and keep you looking gorgeous by giving you a soft and supple skin, strong nails and shiny hair.

D] Healthy fats in the form of ghee, nuts, flax seeds, cold-pressed oils, egg yolks should be consumed regularly. Omitting fats from your diet may lead to deficiency of essential vitamins like vit A,D,E and K.

E] Carbs taken in the form of complex carbohydrates provide you with sustained energy all day long. Whole grains such as millets, ragi, wheat and rice, sweet potato, yam and jaggery are good healthy carbs which are also rich in vitamins and minerals apart from being low-fat.

F] Avoid all kinds of processed foods like white breads, pasta, sugary snacks, packaged cereals, packaged juices and bakery products. These contain heaps of empty calories and zero nutrition.

G] Avoid smoking totally and limit the use of alcohol.Avoid artificial flavourings and sweeteners too.All these are culprits to a growth in cases of many non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

H] Avoid all ready-to-eat, boxed foods, as these are again loaded with salt, sugar, artificial flavouring agents and preservatives.

(Stay tuned for my next article on different nutritional needs of women of different age groups).

So dear women, commit yourself to a nutritious eating and healthy living today and brighten up your tomorrow.