We are women! We are wives, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters and friends. Nurturing and caring is part of our nature. But in the midst of making sure everyone else’s needs are met, we sometimes tend to forget about our own. In order to be the best we can be, we should not…we CAN NOT…ignore our own health.
Nutrition is a vital part in feeling good, and making healthy meals is not difficult or time consuming if you know what to look for. By incorporating a few nutritionally dense foods into our daily regimen, our energy and overall health can keep us on the same level as our need to perform. The list below includes examples of 12 super foods for women that can easily be incorporated into our daily living and help us continue our jobs as superwomen.
Loaded with fiber, which is important for a healthy digestive system, beans also play a role in weight control since fiber promotes a feeling of fullness. It is hard to find time to soak and cook beans from scratch so we often have to rely on the frozen or even canned option. Look for low sodium versions when possible. Add to salads, use them to replace meat in a meal, or use them to make a dip for vegetables. A serving is equal to ½ cup.
The blue color makes it the most powerful antioxidant in the produce world. A real superfood! In addition, they also contain selenium, a mineral vital for a healthy heart. Add to yogurt or oatmeal or just grab a handful for a healthy snack. One (1) cup is a serving.
The verdict is in on eggs and it’s good news! If we follow an overall low fat diet and do not suffer from a current heart condition, 1-2 eggs per day can safely be consumed without increasing our overall cholesterol. Eggs offer an excellent source of protein. Eggs also provide choline, a mineral with a key role in developing the fetal brain, so any women who are, or plan to become, pregnant are encouraged to eat eggs. Super women should birth nothing but super babies!
Aside for being a great source of fiber and being loaded with the essential fatty acid omega 3, flax also contains antioxidants called lignans. These work like estrogen to help lower the risk of breast cancer, promote a normal menstrual cycle and decrease symptoms related to menopause. Ideally, flax seeds should be consumed milled since the little seeds tend to escape the process of digestion and come out whole. Still, consuming them whole would provide a super fiber boost for the digestive system. One tablespoon is plenty. Remember to drink lots of water as the seeds tend to expand in volume.
5. Lean Beef
Consuming three (3) oz, 1-2 times a week, of the leaner cuts transforms into super nutrition. Beef provides a great source of iron, a mineral important for women who are menstruating, as well as pregnant women whose blood volume drastically increases. Beef also contains a great amount of B-vitamins.
The fiber is the super hero here. Oats contain a soluble fiber that absorbs cholesterol in our blood and thus promotes a healthy heart. There are many other ways to eat oats besides just oatmeal. Oats can be used in meatballs, in pies and cakes or in granola to name a few. A serving is equal to ½ cup.
A super source of the essential fatty acid omega 3 and a super hero in heart health, salmon will help lower the bad cholesterol while improving the good. Eating three (3) oz twice per week is recommended. Pregnant women are encouraged to consume omega 3 to support fetal brain development and should be safe consuming two servings of salmon per week.
The tart ones are providing the most health benefit. Besides providing antioxidants, they also contain the hormone melatonin, which is involved in regulating the sleep pattern. New studies also show that eating 90 tart cherries daily could have anti-inflammatory properties. Otherwise, the serving size is one (1) cup.
Cranberries contain a phytochemicas called proanthocyanidins, which gives the berries their color. This phytochemical prevents bacteria from sticking to body parts, such as the gums, stomach lining, and the urinary tract wall, making it a super fighter against Urinary Tract Infections (UTI). One to two 8 oz servings daily should do the trick.
One (1) cup of raw spinach provides ¼ of a day’s worth of folate, a B-vitamin crucial just before and during pregnancy for preventing birth defects. Spinach is also loaded with potassium, vitamin C, E, zink and selenium. Even more super, spinach helps fight cancer with it’s flavinoids. Use it to make a salad, fill a chicken breast or hide it in a home made juice or smoothie.
Walnuts are an important source of protein if you are a vegetarian and are also the nut highest in the essential fatty acid omega 3. In addition, this nut contains high amounts of antioxidants, making it a real super nut. Serving size is crucial since they are high in fat and it is easy to over eat. Just seven (7) nuts daily is plenty!
Yogurt contains the same amount of protein as an egg or one (1) oz of meat and provides a good source of calcium, which is important for bone health. It usually contains a live culture, probiotics, which are healthy bacteria within our gi-tract. Supplying probiotics can promote balance and an overall healthy stomach. One (1) cup is a serving and can often be used to replace sour cream for a healthier, lower fat option when making dips or sauces, filling your tortilla or topping your baked potato. Making smoothies is a popular way to consume yogurt and you can create recipes incorporating many of the foods above into your smoothie. A super shake!
Look for new recipes and ways to add the super foods to your diet. Remember that these foods are only a part of an overall healthy diet. I hope this list provides you with some help to get you started or find some alternatives to your healthy diet.