Four Super Healthy Foods For Women
Diet plays an important role in your health. The foods you consume have both immediate and long-term effects on your well-being.
I'm sure that you know that when you adopt a healthy diet regimen, you're making an effort to prevent illness and maintain your long-term health. There's a wide range of healthy foods to include in your diet, namely fruits, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats. As a woman, you may be juggling a job, a household with kids, and social engagements (especially if you're single - lucky you!). A demanding lifestyle requires that you eat healthy food to maintain your energy and well-being. You can't run full speed if your tank is always half empty!
Here are some examples of various foods that are good for busy women on the go and what you should include as a minimum in your daily diet.
1. Unsweetened Yoghurt
Yoghurt is great for women as it contains healthy probiotics. These probiotics boost the immune system and keep your digestive system running smoothly. Regular intake of yoghurt decreases the risk of breast cancer, infections, stomach ulcers and improves symptoms associated with the inflammatory digestive tract and irritable bowel syndrome. The U.S Dietary Guidelines recommend 3-5 servings a week which you can have for breakfast or lunch. Yoghurt is also rich in bone-healthy calcium (even more than milk).
Having a cup of yoghurt for breakfast will energize you for the rest of the day! I'm a big advocate for having a diet that always focusses on feeding your healthy gut bacteria. If you've taken any antibiotics, you've not only killed the bad bacteria in your body but the good as well. Be sure to up your intake of yoghurt or kefir before, during and after your cycle of antibiotics. If you are planning any travelling in countries like Mexico or other areas where stomach upset is often par for the course, be sure to really focus on your gut health before you go and while you are there. I take a daily pre and probiotic as part of my wellness regime. Mine also includes digestive enzymes as well for gas and bloating.
Flaxseed, flaxseed oil and fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which enhances the health of the cell membrane and protects women from various health threats such as joint pain, depression, hypertension, stroke, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Food rich in Omega-3 fatty acids such as flaxseed oil, mackerel and salmon are also a good source of antioxidants that fight inflammation and reduce the risks of heart diseases.
Omega-3 plays a crucial role in brain health. About 3.2 million women currently live with Alzheimer’s disease in the US. If you consume 2 to 3 servings a week of fatty fish, you are reducing your risk of future brain diseases. I am in a habit now of always adding a tablespoon or two of flaxseed oil into my morning shake. I also make all of my salad dressings with a dash of flaxseed oil substituted in place of another oil. Be sure to use a high-temperature flaxseed oil when cooking. Most flaxseed oils burn when used in cooking which is dangerous as the oil becomes carcinogenic. Omega-3 also has anti-ageing properties, can protect your skin from sun damage and maintain your skin’s texture and beauty.
Beans are low in fat and a rich source of fibre and protein, which has protective effects against heart diseases. Beans are loaded with a nutrient known as isoflavone which helps to regulate hormones and aid with perimenopause or menopause symptoms (bring on the beans!)
Beans lower cholesterol and help protect against breast cancer. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, beans contain ample folic acid which helps prevent birth defects. About 3 servings a week can supply your folic acid need (consult your doctor if you are pregnant).
Strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, and blueberries have a high level of antioxidants. The antioxidants in berries protect your skin against ageing and can help you look younger (which is why I consume berries every day!). It can also reduce the risk of heart attack by more than 30%.
Berries are loaded with anthocyanins and anti-cancer compounds that are active against gastrointestinal and breast cancers. Berries are also rich in nutrients such as vitamin-C for an immune boost, folic acid for brain development and lutein which protects your vision. About 3 to 4 servings per week of cranberries can reduce the risk of urinary tract infection in women (I find that cranberry supplements are more palatable for me).
Non-nutritious foods can make you weak and leave your body open to infections and diseases. Your body needs essential minerals, vitamins, and energy to function optimally and the foods discussed above are a great starting point.
Eat healthily and give your body a fighting chance to be the best you can be! (Ok, that sounded corny but I couldn't think of anything else).