Healthy Foods for Women
Osteoporosis, iron deficiency, breast cancer and heart disease after menopause are more prevalent in women and related to our genetics. But as researchers probe more and more into genetics, evidence shows that environmental factors consistently play a role in whether or not a person will develop disease.
An important environmental factor within our control is diet. Diet plays a significant role in whether or not harmful genes cause disease. While there is no “miracle” food, there are “superfoods” for women that have been identified that meet some of women’s unique nutritional needs. Research has shown that the nutrients in these foods are particularly important to women by giving a wide range of protection that lowers risk for certain types of diseases.
What follows is a list of the healthiest foods that every woman should try to incorporate into her diet:
1. Fatty Fish
such as salmon, halibut, sardines, tuna and mackerel. Fatty fishes are typically cold-water fish, rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well as iron and Vitamins A and D. Two forms of omega-3 fatty acid are DHA and EPA. Omega-3 oils found in the fish appear to reduce inflammation which is linked to a number of diseases including heart disease, stroke, hypertension, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Products are reaching the grocery store shelves that are supplemented with DHA and EPA.
Walnuts are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which has been shown to lower cholesterol. ALA can also be found in flaxseed, canola oils, wheat germ and soybeans.
3. Low-Fat Yogurt
Yogurt is loaded with bone-healthy calcium and helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Most women are not getting enough calcium in their diets and this is particularly troubling for younger women. Bone mass is believed to peak at 25 years of age. After 25 years most people no longer build bone mass. Developing osteoporosis depends upon the peak bone mass and the rate and duration of bone loss as we age. Insufficient accumulation of bone mass in younger women put them at a higher risk for developing osteoporosis. Calcium is found in other foods such as low-fat dairy products, canned salmon or sardines because of the soft bones and calcium-fortified orange juice.
4. Blueberries And Broccoli
Plant compounds called flavonoids are responsible for the vibrant colors of fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids make up a large family of bioactive compounds, better known as anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants neutralize harmful effects of molecules in our bodies that cause cell damage.
Flavonoids are what give fruits and vegetables their protective effects in the fight against cancer and heart disease. Anti-oxidants also may protect the skin from aging. Foods containing flavonoids include teas, red wine, berries, purple grapes, tomatoes, oranges, yellow-green vegetables, and garlic.
5. Red Beans And Oatmeal
Both foods are a good source of soluble fiber which may lower cholesterol, conferring heart protective effects. Beans are from a family of vegetables called legumes. Other legumes are peas and lentils.
All legumes are a major source of complex carbohydrates, fiber and protein and are rich in essential minerals. Researchers also found that legumes, lentils in particular, may provide some protective effects against breast cancer.
6. Olive Oil And Avocados
Monounsaturated fats reduce triglycerides and cholesterol. Olive oil and avocados are very high in monounsaturated fats so they are considered heart healthy. Simply knowing what foods are healthy and give the biggest bang for the buck is not enough to reap the benefits. In order to choose healthy foods and include them in your diet you first need to look at your eating habits and start to make small changes. Keep healthy foods on hand that you actually like to eat and begin substituting them in place of less healthy foods.
Begin a collection of “superfood” recipes that you really enjoy and plan your meals and snacks. Make a grocery list for when you shop. This allows for “purposeful grocery shopping” and helps keep unhealthy food choices out of the cart and coming into the house. To begin getting the most from the “superfoods” combine them into simple recipes and start reaping the rewards today!
Restaurant-Style Orange-Glazed Salmon 2 Tbsp. Cajun spices
? tsp. brown sugar
Pinch of salt
2 boneless, skinless salmon fillets
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. orange marmalade
1 ? tsp. lime juice
Combine Cajun spice, brown sugar, and salt in a bowl. Rub mixture over entire fillet. Saut? fillets in oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes. Turn fish and saut? additional 2-3 minutes.
Blend marmalade and lime juice in a bowl; add to pan with salmon. Swirl the mixture in pan until melted, carefully coating all sides of salmon. Fish is done when it begins to flake with a fork.
Serve with lime wedges and side dish of broccoli.