There is certainly no shortage of advice about nutrition and healthy eating available. As we become more health conscious as a society, the amount of information telling us what we should eat and what we shouldn’t eat can be overwhelming.
Thanks to advertising ploys, we can’t even trust labeling. You have to really look for nutritional information and not be swayed by clever packaging.
Here’s a summary of the six super foods nutrition experts say every woman needs. It is not an all-inclusive list, but including them in your diet can help keep you healthy.
1. Low-fat yogurt (3 to 5 servings per week)
Any fermented dairy product including kefir contains healthy “probiotics,” which are bacteria with the power to protect you in myriad ways. Yogurt may decrease risk of cancer and is believed to reduce IBS and digestive tract disorders both of which are seen more in women than men. Stomach ulcers and vaginal infections are also relieved by yogurt.
It is also packed with bone-healthy calcium even more so than skim milk. You should choose a yogurt with live cultures like acidophilus. That fruit-on-the-bottom has more calories than nutrition!
2. Fatty fish — like salmon, sardines, and mackerel (2 to 3 servings per week)
The omega-3 fatty acids help protect us from health threats such as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, depression, joint pain, and a number of illnesses linked to inflammation, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. It is possible fish may even offer some protection against Alzheimer’s disease.
Of the omega-3 fatty acids, only the DHA or EPA forms can be directly used by the body. Foods such as walnuts, flaxseed oil, and some mayonnaise brands have an omega-3 acid known as ALA—alpha-linoleic acid, which is much more difficult for the body to process and convert.
Watch for new products supplemented with DHA. Nutri-Kids has already launched a DHA fortified ready-to-drink milk product, and you can also find eggs certain brands of soymilk fortified with DHA.
3. Beans (3 to 4 servings per week)
A good source of protein and fiber, beans may help stabilize female hormones and protect us from heart disease and breast cancer. Beans in general, particularly lentils, have shown to help these ailments.
A higher intake of legumes helps women regulate hormones and lower cholesterol. Common legumes include peas, beans, lentils, and peanuts. Beans may also aid PMS, perimenopause, or menopause symptoms.
During your reproductive years, beans can give you a steady supply of folic acid, which are essential for pregnancy.
4. Tomatoes (or watermelon, red grapefruit, red navel oranges) (3 to 5 servings per week)
Lycopene, which is found in all these fruits, has shown to have incredible health benefits for women as well. There is current research showing that lycopene also helps against breast cancer. Lycopene is also a powerful antioxidant that can help a woman fight heart disease.
Recent research confirms lycopene could help keep you looking younger longer by protecting against UV damage from the sun.
5. Vitamin D fortified low fat milk or orange juice (at least 400 IUs of vitamin D daily)
Vitamin D helps bones absorb calcium and helps reduce the risks of osteoporosis. Experts believe it helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and tumors of the breast, colon, and ovary.
Recent studies from the University of California San Diego indicate vitamin D has the potential to prevent up to one–half of all breast, colon, and ovarian cancer in the United States.
Many women are vitamin D deficient, partially due to staying out of the sun and using sunscreen. An alternative source of vitamin D is vital.
While several types of fish also provide vitamin D, milk is a much better choice.
6. Berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries) (3 to 4 servings per week)
These berries have powerful anti-cancer nutrients known as anthocyans. Research suggests these nutrients play a role in cell repair, and may decrease the risk of numerous cancers such as those in the breast and gastrointestinal tract.
For child-bearing women, these berries provide needed vitamin C and folic acid. Berries contain powerful anti-oxidant protection, which not only defends the heart but also may protect against skin aging, from the inside out. Additionally, cranberries help decrease the risk of urinary tract infections in women, and all the berries, can help protect vision.
Of course, each of us is unique in our own way, which is why consulting with a woman care specialist is so important. To discuss your individual health needs, please feel free to contact our office to schedule an appointment today.