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thelounge

10 best foods for women

By Ella Walsh

woman_drinking_cranberry_ju.jpg

Depending on their stage of life, women have changing nutritional needs. And while everyone should eat well to maintain good health, it is important that women understand how to eat smart so that they manage their health in the best possible way.

Discover the top ten foods all women should eat:

Salmon

Salmon is high in omega-3 oils and protein, low in cholesterol and contains B vitamins, calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium. Two servings a week of this super-food will give you a wide range of health benefits.

Why is salmon good for women?

We all know that omega-3 oils are good for us, but did you know that pregnant and breastfeeding women can pass on the benefits of omega-3 oils to their growing baby? Eating plenty of oily fish like salmon during the third trimester can also protect you from the baby blues. Post-menopausal women can also benefit from fatty fish like salmon as it protects the heart from heart disease as oestrogen levels drop.

Flaxseed

This often-overlooked seed is high in omega-3 oils and a disease-fighting compound called lignans, an important type of fibre for women. To benefit from the wonders of the flaxseed you need to eat 1-2 tablespoons of crushed flaxseeds a day - whole seeds are hard to digest so crushed or ground seeds are the most beneficial.

Why is flaxseed good for women?

Research has shown that 40 grams of crushed flaxseeds have a significant impact on the number of 'hot flushes' women get through menopause. Flaxseed has also been shown to lower bad cholesterol and the golden variety of flaxseed may play a role in fighting breast cancer.

Flaxseed can also play a role in preventing stretch marks and some mums recommend using it in home remedies for colds and flu.

Cranberry juice

Cranberries are a great source of vitamin C and dietary fibre. The potential health benefits of cranberries have been documented as improving dental hygiene and preventing cancer and heart disease. Usually considered too bitter and too sour to eat fresh, cranberries are usually juiced before consumption.

Why is cranberry juice good for women?

Women are much more vulnerable to urinary tract infections than men, and when it comes to UTIs, nothing beats cranberry juice . The antioxidants in cranberries prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder walls which forces the bacteria to be flushed from your system. The fact that cranberries also act as a diuretic, mean that the flushing of the bladder happens quickly!

Greek yoghurt

Greek yoghurt contains twice as much protein and less sugar, salt and carbohydrates than most yoghurts. And because of the higher protein content, Greek yoghurt makes you feel fuller for longer.

Why is Greek yoghurt good for women?

Studies suggest that 30% of all calories should come from protein - and most women don't come close to this number. When a higher proportion of calories come from protein, weight loss, muscle maintenance and healthy aging are more sustainable. Generally too, women should be consuming more dairy products each day to protect themselves from osteoporosis and Greek yoghurt is a good choice because not only does it deliver a big serve of calcium, it is also full of good bacteria that promotes colon health.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A and C and a good source of calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. To get the maximum benefit from the tomatoes you eat, it is best to eat them immediately after cutting them open as they oxidise quickly.

Why are tomatoes good for women?

Being a rich source of lycopene and biotin, tomatoes help prevent cancer, particularly breast and cervical cancer. These phytochemicals may also protect us from cardiovascular disease. Research has shown that cooking tomatoes and adding a little oil, makes it easier for our bodies to access the lycopene and other antioxidants.

Pumpkin

Pumpkins are rich source of potassium, magnesium and fibre, and its bright orange flesh is packed full of beta-carotene, which is an important antioxidant that fights free radicals in our body, and therefore protects us from cancer.

Why is pumpkin good for women?

Aside from being small on calories, the antioxidants in pumpkin have been reported as helping to prevent breast cancer, and its high fibre content ensures digestive health. Digestive health and fibre intake is extremely important, as women are at high risk of bowel cancer as they get older.

Dark lean meat

Lean red meat trimmed of visible fat is not only a good source of protein and energy, but also has benefits in avoiding heart disease. Not only packed with protein, red meat also contains good levels of iron, zinc, B vitamins, selenium, vitamin D, and is recommended 3-4 times a week.

Why is dark lean meat good for women?

Women generally don't have enough iron in their diet - and iron supplements don't deliver iron to the body nearly as efficiently as red meat does. While all women who menstruate need a regular source of iron in their diet, iron-rich food is of particular importance for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Mangoes

Mangos are an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin C. They also contain iron, nicotinic acid, and potassium. The high doses of vitamin C in mangos act as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent which can decrease asthma symptoms.

Why are mangoes good for women?

One mango provides women with 100% of their daily requirement of vitamin A (beta carotene), 95% of their vitamin C, 40% of their fibre and about 30% of their vitamin E. But aside from providing a very efficient (and tasty) way to get the day's hit of vitamins, mangoes also provide protection against cervical and colon cancer, as well as reducing the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease.

Spinach

Spinach is extremely rich in antioxidants. It is also a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, iron, folic acid and omega-3 fatty acids.

Why is spinach good for women?

Spinach is a super-food, protecting against a vast array of conditions as wide ranging as osteoporosis, heart disease, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, and arthritis. Of particular note for women planning a pregnancy, spinach is an excellent source of folic acid, a vital mineral for healthy foetal growth and development. To get the greatest folate benefit from spinach, it is best to quickly steam the leaves rather than boil it.

Sesame seeds

Sesame seeds are a great source of calcium, copper and zinc - minerals all associated with bone health . While 1/4 of a cup of hulled sesame seeds will deliver about 35% of your daily calcium requirements, unhulled sesame seeds will give you about 85%.

Why are sesame seeds good for women?

As osteoporosis and general deteriorating bone health is a huge health risk for women as they age, foods such sesame seeds that can deliver vital minerals for bone health should be eaten regularly. Additionally, the high levels of copper in sesame seeds can reduce the swelling and pain associated with arthritis.

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