If you are like most women, you may find it difficult to obtain proper nutrition on a consistent basis. As a result, your diet may be lacking in essential vitamins and nutrients. Superfoods may be defined as nutritionally dense foods that support health, wellbeing, and immunity. Superfoods for women are those that contain nutrients that have been found to be especially beneficial for women’s health.
According to new dietary guidelines, many women fail to consume enough iron, calcium, magnesium, choline, fiber, potassium, and vitamins D, A and C. Fortunately, a busy schedule need not be an impediment to good nutrition, and by adding a few superfoods to your diet, you can quickly reverse your nutritional shortfalls. Below are the top superfoods for women:
1. Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables, particularly those of the dark variety, such as broccoli, collard greens and kale, are a terrific low-calorie source of “phytoestrogens.” The latter are plant steroids that play a vital role in hormonal balance in women. Green leafy vegetables are also rich in essential nutrients, such as B vitamins, folate, calcium, iron and vitamins E, C, and K. Leafy greens are rich in Vitamin A as well, which protects the skin from age-related damage, and protects against diseases such as arteriosclerosis and cancer.
Nuts are both satisfying to the taste and are filling to the stomach while low on calories. They are a terrific blood sugar stabilizing snack that can help boost energy. Because they are nutrient dense, just one serving of mixed nuts may provide the recommended daily allowance of vitamins A and E, as well as folate, selenium, copper, zinc, phosphorus, calcium and protein. They also contain healthy fats that may help lower cholesterol.
3. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish – especially sardines and wild Alaskan salmon – offer healthy doses of essential fatty acids and high-quality proteins. Both are important for heart health and the production of healthy cells. In addition, the Omega-3 essential fatty acids found in salmon and sardines may offer protection against Alzheimer’s disease and old age dementia. Some studies are supportive of the protective effects of fatty fish against breast cancer.
Not all appetizers are of the high-calorie variety. One medium-sized shrimp contains only seven calories, making shrimp cocktail a great choice as an appetizer, power snack, or mini-meal. Heart disease is a leading killer of women in the United States, but a substance found in shrimp called “astaxanthin” may reduce the risk of heart disease. Additionally, astaxanthin may help lower bad cholesterol and protect against Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Tomatoes have a well-earned place on the superfoods list, but are sometimes overlooked. However, one small tomato provides women with more than 60 percent of their recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, the latter of which is an antioxidant vital to a healthy complexion. In addition, the skin of the tomato is packed with lycopene, another essential antioxidant that fights heart disease and breast cancer, protects the eyes from various diseases, and boosts the immune system.
6. Blueberries and Other Berries
The blueberry is a super fruit. Blueberries, particularly the wild variety, are regarded by experts as one of the most antioxidant-rich fruits available to modern society. They promote brain health, combat wrinkles and other signs of aging, and are rich in anti-cancer nutrients called anthocyanins. The latter have been shown to lower a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Cranberries, raspberries and strawberries have a similar effect, and all four berries can be mixed together for a tasty and satisfying cancer-fighting fruit salad.
7. Whole Grains
Among other top superfoods for women are oats and other whole-grain products that contain important insoluble and soluble fiber. These fibers ensure satiety, and therefore are helpful with regard to appetite control. Additionally, fiber keeps blood sugar levels stable, enhances metabolism, lowers cholesterol, and helps protect against heart disease. Oatmeal is a good source of fiber, and steel cut oats are a particularly good choice in this category.
Beans have always been recognized as the nutritional dynamos they are; however, red beans are an especially healthy superfood, as they are densely packed with fiber, minerals, folate, protein and antioxidants. Red beans are one of the most nutrient rich vegetables in existence, and can help the body to burn fat, destroy free radicals, prevent diabetes, and guard the heart against a host of disorders.
Bakers frequently use this nut-flavored seed to add fiber and flavor to a variety of products. However, scientists have now recognized flaxseed as a possible weapon against breast cancer. Rich in lignans, which are estrogen-like compounds, these tiny reddish-brown seeds have been proven to slow tumor growth and prevent unnatural cell division in healthy individuals. Flaxseeds can be used to flavor muffins, sprinkled on cereal, or simply eaten à la carte. Additionally, because they are soft seeds, they are easy to grind in a coffee grinder or blender.
Avocados are one of the top superfoods for women because of the extraordinary range of nutrients they provide. For example, they contain fiber, folate, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins K, A, E, and B6. In addition, they contain “good fat,” which is essential to brain and heart health, and plant sterols, which play a key role in lowering bad cholesterol. Avocados also help curb carbohydrate cravings, the latter of which can sabotage essentially any diet.
11. Curry Spice
Curcumin, the active ingredient from turmeric, is what gives curry its yellow-orange color. It has powerful antioxidative properties and been shown to destroy cancer cells in lab tests and stop tumor growth. Research conducted at the University of Texas indicated that this tasty spice may prevent a variety of cancers, including pancreatic, ovarian and breast cancer, as well as lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Additionally, curcumin has been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, arteriosclerosis, and high blood pressure. It is easy to add to a wide variety of dishes and can be taken in supplement form as well.
Most women have individual health goals based on a variety of factors. However, adding the any of the above superfoods for women to the diet may go a long way in ensuring a much healthier lifestyle.