Women lead busy lives – taking care of the family, raising the kids, doing the shopping, cleaning the house, cooking meals and, for many,working at a job outside the home. With all that they do, women often ignore their own heath.
Your physical and mental performance are directly affected by what you eat. To maintain optimum health, follow a healthy diet. Nutrients like vitamins B, C and D, along with protein, iron, folic acid, chromium, calcium, magnesium, enzymes, fiber and essential fatty acids are essential for every woman.
By choosing the right foods, you can become smarter, leaner and stronger. From bone-building and energy-boosting to fat-busting and disease-fighting foods, certain superfoods will help ward off common health problems that women face throughout their lives.
Here are the top 10 superfoods for women.
1. Greek Yogurt
Compared to regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is lower in fat and higher in calcium and protein, which are required for healthy teeth, strong muscles and resilient bones.
Eating Greek yogurt regularly will promote healthy digestion, prevent gas and bloating, and help treat irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis. Also, it has been found that Greek yogurt may decrease the risk of breast cancer, stomach ulcers and vaginal infections.
Eat at least three servings of fat-free Greek yogurt daily. For more flavor and bonus nutrients, add fresh fruits to the yogurt.
2. Red Beans
Red beans are high in fiber, protein and flavonoids as well as low in fat. Eating beans regularly helps burn fat, control blood sugar and protect against heart disease and breast cancer.
Plus, red beans play a key role in stabilizing female hormones. Last but not least, if you are pregnant, red beans can give you a steady supply of folic acid that is essential for a pregnant woman and her unborn baby.
Eat at least three or four servings of red beans every week. You can try red beans in soups or salads, casserole dishes and as spreads or dips. Along with red beans, other beans particularly good for women are garbanzo, black, kidney, pinto and soybeans.
Spinach or any other dark green leafy vegetable is a must for women of all age groups. Spinach is loaded with important nutrients including iron, calcium, folate, and K, C, E, and B vitamins.
Plus, it has amino acids, antioxidants and powerful phytochemicals that are important for women’s health. Spinach is also good for the overall health of your heart, skin, eyes, bones and liver.
Eat half a bowl of spinach or any other leafy green vegetable daily. This will provides more than five times your daily dose of vitamin K, which helps blood clot and builds strong bones. Spinach can be eaten steamed or sautéed, in soups and salads, or in juice form.
Tomatoes are a must for women being a good source of lycopene, the powerful antioxidant that may help protect against cervical and breast cancers. Also, lycopene acts like a sunscreen to protects your skin from sun damage. Plus, the polyphenols in tomatoes are good for heart health.
Eat three to five servings of tomatoes each week. You can eat them plain, add them to your fruit or vegetable salad, or cook them with other healthy vegetables for even greater benefits.
Being rich in vitamin C and potassium, strawberries are good for immunity. The powerful antioxidants found in strawberries protect the heart, prevent varicose veins, fight wrinkles, improve eyesight, reduce inflammation and lower the risk of urinary tract infections in women.
Strawberries may also decrease the risk of several cancers, including those in the breasts and gastrointestinal tract.
Eat one to two cups of strawberries daily. Both fresh and frozen strawberries are good for your health. You can eat strawberries plain or add them to salads, yogurt, or oatmeal. Along with strawberries, other berries like blueberries, raspberries and cranberries should also be included in your diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids help nourish the brain and vascular system. For a good amount of these essential fatty acids, salmon is the best source. Omega-3 fatty acids are also required for a healthy pregnancy and can boost your mood, fight depression, and protect against Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
Salmon is also low in calories and high in energy-sustaining protein and vitamin D, an important vitamin that is lacking in many women.
Eat two to three servings of salmon in a week. You can eat grilled, smoked or baked salmon to enjoy optimum health.
7. Dark Chocolate
Antioxidant-rich dark chocolate is something that every woman should eat. Plus, eating a small bite of dark chocolate is a healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth. The flavonoids present in dark chocolate help prevent clogged arteries and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Chocolate also releases serotonin, the body’s natural feel-better brain chemical. Dark chocolate contains other healthy nutrients too, like magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, and phosphorus that are important for bone health.
Eat just one-quarter ounce of dark chocolate daily. When buying dark chocolate, opt for one that is made up of at least 70 percent cocoa.
Every woman should eat almonds daily. Almonds are nutrient dense, loaded with protein, good quality fats, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, selenium, folate, and vitamins E and A.
Eating almonds can lower cholesterol, boost brain power, help you sleep better, prevent heart disease, and fight cancer. Plus, almonds can help you lose weight, including belly fat.
Eat one ounce or about one-eighth of a cup of almonds daily. Almonds make a healthy snack that is filling and satisfying. Also, you can add chopped almonds to salads, yogurt or whole grain cereals.
Avocados are one of the healthiest anti-aging fruits for women. They have healthy fats, antioxidants and phytonutrients that nourish the brain, prevent wrinkles and keep the skin healthy.
The healthy monounsaturated fatty acids present in avocados keep you satisfied and help you absorb other nutrients. Plus, they are loaded with nutrients including potassium, magnesium, folate, protein, and vitamins B6, E and K, as well as fiber.
Eat half an avocado daily. If you are trying to lose weight, reduce it to one-fourth of an avocado daily. You can eat the tasty fruit plain or include it in your salad, smoothie or dips.
10. Olive Oil
Those who wish to lead a healthy and long life must substitute olive oil for other oils. Olive oil protects against colon, breast and skin cancer due to the presence of phenolic antioxidants as well as anti-cancer compounds in it.
It also contains biophenols that help lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease. In addition, its strong anti-inflammatory properties help alleviate pain associated with chronic inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.
Eat two tablespoons of olive oil a day. You can use it in your cooking or as a dressing for your salad. In order to reap the most health benefits from olive oil, always opt for cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil.
Along with these superfoods, you must drink lots of water to keep your body hydrated. Plus, exercise for 30 minutes daily, meditate, and get sound sleep of seven to eight hours daily. A happy environment at home and the office also are important for a woman to lead a healthy life.