From being a full-time mom to building a successful career, there is no denying women have some pretty remarkable superpowers. And to ensure sustained energy, vitality, and strength, women need some super foods for good health!
"What are the superfoods?" you might ask… Read on to find out!
16 Superfoods for Women
Almonds are power-packed with healthy unsaturated fat, which supports both heart and mental health, and provides plant-based protein and fiber. Furthermore, research published in the International Journal of Obesity shows almonds play a role in weight loss and management.
The nut is also a significant source of calcium, posing as a valuable alternative for women with a milk allergy, are lactose intolerant, or simply trying to reduce dairy intake.
Although they boast with benefits, with a 1-ounce serving (about 1 handful or ¼ cup) supplying approximately 160 calories, portion control is key when snacking on almonds.
Berries of all sorts are some of the most antioxidant-rich fruits to bare its existence, proving to slow down premature aging and wrinkles, keep the brain sharp, and defend against cancer.
They are also a rich source of fiber and vitamin C, an immune-boosting vitamin linked to improved eyesight, lower cancer risks, and better heart health.
The small but mighty oat is full of nutrients, including fiber to support digestive and heart health, along with iron and zinc.
Women require more iron related to menstruation cycles and childbearing years and an inadequate iron intake increases the risk of iron deficiency anemia, which causes fatigue and potentially delays the development of unborn babies.
Zinc is likewise critical for women’s health, as the mineral is virtually found in all parts of the body, including skeletal muscles, bones, the kidneys, hair, blood cells, and the list goes on…
4. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is an undoubted superfood for good health and packed with protein, calcium, and probiotics.
While males also require calcium to build strong bones, women are more likely to develop osteoporosis related to their tendency to have smaller, thinner bones. And once women reach menopause, there is a sharp decrease in estrogen, a hormone than helps protect bone strength.
The probiotics sourced from Greek yogurt improves the body’s microbiome and may encourage weight loss, along with supporting both digestion and immune health.
The versatility of Greek yogurt allows it to be naturally-sweetened with fruit, blended into smoothies, swapped for sour cream, incorporated into savory soups, mixed into coleslaw, and prepared into yogurt bark.
Eggs are one of the most inexpensive, all-natural, nutrient-dense foods available. In fact, at an approximate 17 cents per serving, eggs are considered the least inexpensive source of high-quality protein money can be!
Eggs are additionally a valuable source of choline, the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, selenium, phosphorus, and B vitamins.
Whereas the yolk was scrutinized not terribly long ago, current evidence gives them the go-ahead. In fact, the yolks as the are one of the very few food sources naturally supplying vitamin D.
Along with supporting bone health, vitamin D has shown to reduce blood pressure and inflammation, benefit functions in neuromuscular and immune strength, and protect against breast and ovarian cancers.
6. Grassfed Beef
Beef is bursting with protein and other nutrients, such as iron and zinc, proven to support women’s health.
Going for grassfed beef supplies less saturated fat, more polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), and a larger amount of omega-3 fatty acids which may offer anti-inflammatory properties and lower the risk of chronic disease.
7. Dark Chocolate
Yes, we said chocolate! Dark chocolate, that is…
Dark chocolate is rich in polyphenols, powerful antioxidants supplied from a wide variety of plant-based foods. Polyphenols have shown to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke and protect against brain deterioration and weakening. The antioxidant may also improve cell survival, prevent tumor growth, and protect against harmful UV radiation, which is a major risk factor for skin cancer.
But to reap the greatest benefits of dark chocolate, go for products with at least 70 percent cacao and are limited in added sugar.
Apart of the legume family, lentils are an edible pulse and mostly recognized in green, brown, yellow, and red color assortments that accompany a wide-variety of dishes.
Lentils provide substantial plant-based protein source and a good source of fiber along with valuable micronutrients, including potassium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, thiamin, vitamin B6, and folate.
Women of childbearing age should consume 400 milligrams (mg) of folate per day related to the association of neural tube defects and inadequate folate intake during early pregnancy, with the recommendation stretching throughout the entire gestational period.
Like lentils, beans are another rich source of plant-based protein, fiber, folate and are low on the glycemic index (GI) scale.
A modest increase in protein and reduction in the glycemic index has shown to improve maintenance of weight loss. Consuming lower GI foods may stave off hot flashes, which are caused by the imbalance of estrogen levels that largely interferes with the body’s ability to maintain body temperature.
Related to their fiber content and various phytochemicals (plant chemicals) beans supply, the legume has shown to decrease the risk of breast and various forms of cancer.
Not only are soybeans notable for their plant-based protein and fiber content, but full of unsaturated fats proven to support a healthy weight and heart health.
Soybeans are also a great source of iron, folate, calcium, magnesium, thiamin, and potassium. Eating moderate amounts of natural soy foods may lower the risk of breast cancer and keep bones strong after menopause.
Soybeans can be whipped up into this edamole dip, topped onto salads, mixed into rice dishes, or simply enjoyed boiled for a nutritious snack.
Those leafy greens are filled to the brim with nutrients, including iron, calcium, folate, and vitamins C and K.
The availability of vitamin K is absolutely critical to produce prothrombin, a clotting factor necessary for blood clotting and bone metabolism. Vitamin K has been shown support brain health, promote longevity, and combat against certain health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Spinach is extremely versatile and can be mixed into a salad, sautéed with garlic and olive oil, and blended and hidden in smoothies and sauces.
Not so surprisingly and is its name suggests, this luscious fruit is a valuable hydration source and comprised of 91 percent water!
Watermelon is rich in lycopene, the pigment giving them their rich color, and has shown to protect against strokes and both ovarian and colon cancers.
The melon also contains citrulline, shown to improve blood pressure and soothe sore muscles, and beta-cryptoxanthin, a carotenoid recommended to reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
13. Olive Oil
Especially when swapping out butter and margarine, olive oil has shown to be highly beneficial to heart health thanks to its notorious monounsaturated fat it provides. Research further suggests the oil can promote fat loss and even assist in diabetes management by reducing after meal blood sugar levels.
Beyond its healthy fat content, olive oil is rich in vitamins E.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and powerful antioxidant, with evidence suggesting it may be effective for reducing symptoms associated to menstrual cycles, slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and managing osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Salmon is highly nutritious, supplying adequate protein, omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, selenium, vitamin D, and numerous B vitamins.
Salmon is also considered one of the highest food sources of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a type of omeg-3 fatty acid critical for healthy brain and eye development, along with supporting heart health and in the treatment and management of rheumatoid arthritis, psychiatric disorders, and many other conditions.
Specific to women, omega-3 fatty acids may ease the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), including mood swings, tender breasts, food cravings, fatigue, irritability, and depression.
Aim for at least two servings of salmon or other fatty fish per week to ensure adequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
Shrimp is packed with protein for a relative low calorie cost, along with supplying selenium, vitamin B12, phosphorous, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
The shellfish is also a natural source of astaxanthin, the reddish pigment gifting shrimp its color. Astaxanthin has been shown to reduce hot flashes, joint pain, and moodiness that often surfaces during menopause.
While water is not technically a superfood, it is super essential for good health. Water aids in digestion and can help reduce the overeating when drinking before and with meals.
The recommended adequate intake for women is 2.7 liters (or nearing 12 cups) of fluid per day, especially in the form of water over sugary drinks.