13 Super Foods for Women
Women’s bodies have different needs so here’s how to take the best care of yourself nutritionally.
Healthy eating is important for everyone, but certain foods are especially good for issues that affect women — like brittle bones, pregnancy, and breast cancer, to name a few.
These “super foods” are rich with nutrients that will help to protect your body and keep it working well, even as you age.
These tasty soybean pods are full of fibre, good fats, and oestrogen-like compounds called isoflavones. which can be your friends during menopause.
For example, they can help cool hot flushes but women with a history or risk of breast cancer are advised to avoid or limit them.
Packed into these green leaves are loads of vitamin K, which works with calcium and vitamin D to keep your bones strong and healthy.
One serving has more than 20% of the daily recommended amounts of vitamins A and C.
If osteoporosis risk is a concern then another way to get your bone-building vitamin K is with asparagus.
Half a cup will give you a third of what you need for the day. It’s also full of folate, which helps prevent birth defects like spina bifida.
They have lots of protein, without the fat that comes with meat, and they’re high in fibre.
They can lower your blood pressure, blood sugar, and heart rate — all things that can lead to heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women worldwide.
It’s all about about the “flavonoids,” which help lower the likelihood of certain kinds of strokes in women and may also help your heart.
Oranges work, too, but grapefruit has less sugar and grapefruit has some contraindications in high quantities with some medication, so check with your doctor or pharmacist.
5. Berries and cherries
These fruits have flavonoids and antioxidants, which can protect healthy cells from damage and help keep your brain sharper as you get older.
Plus, you need their vitamin C to build collagen, the protein that keeps your skin firm and smooth.
Its red-orange colour comes from beta carotene (also in carrots) and lycopene (also in tomatoes and watermelon).
Lycopene lowers your chance of getting cervical and breast cancers. It’s an antioxidant, too, and keeps cholesterol and blood pressure at healthy levels to help ward off heart disease.
7. Plain, low-fat yoghurt
You need more calcium when you are over 50 and yoghurt has loads of it — just 8 ounces will give you more than a third of your calcium for the day.
Look for the kind enriched with vitamin D, to help your body use the mineral better.
These contain healthy fatty acids, vitamin D, and calcium. Their omega-3 fats can improve the quality of breast milk, and sardines are good for babies whose mothers ate them while they were pregnant.
They also have less mercury than most other fish.
Ground flaxseed is bursting with fibre as well as lignans, plant compounds that act like oestrogen. These can help lower your risk for some cancers, including breast cancer.
Flaxseed oil is a great way to get your omega-3s, but it doesn’t come with the added cancer-fighting benefits. Check with your doctor before you add flaxseed to your diet; it can affect how well some medications work.
They are also packed with healthy fatty acids and may prevent cancer as part of a balanced diet.
Use them (or ground flaxseed) as a topping for yoghurt.
Yes, they’re full of fat, but it’s the good fat. In fact, studies show avocado-rich diets can help get rid of belly fat and protect your eyes and skin.
They may even help lower “bad” cholesterol levels and boost the “good” cholesterol.
12. Sweet potato
These contain copper, fibre, vitamin B6, potassium and iron and they are full of beta carotene, an A+ source of vitamin A.
Excellent when pregnant and breastfeeding, to ensure your baby’s lungs are healthy and strong.
Folate is your friend because as well as being essential in pregnancy it lowers your chances for getting dementia, heart disease, and colon cancer.
Spinach is full of folate in spades, and lutein, too. This antioxidant protects the lens and retina in your eye and may even ward off a few wrinkles.
This is an excellent source of folate and folic acid, but if vegan or vegetarian you can get smaller amounts from spinach and black-eyed peas.
15. Lean beef
Red meat is an excellent source of iron and after age 18, you need lots of it — more than men do. Beef is iron-rich, and it also gives you a zinc and vitamin B boost.
However, eat moderately as as well as the fat factor, there’s but don’t go overboard. There’s a chance that eating lots of red meat, processed foods, high-fat dairy, caffeine and alcohol might lead to uterine fibroids, and can make them worse if you already have them.