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Eating a healthy diet is important for anyone who wants to live better, longer. Yet, the truth is that in many ways, dietary recommendations are not one-size-fits-all.
Women’s nutritional needs change throughout their lives, fluctuating through menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause. So, throughout our lives, maintaining healthy eating habits is important every step of the way.
In fact, certain foods — yes, we’re looking at you, superfoods — are especially powerful for helping women stay healthier, feel better, age in that graceful way we all dream of and simply be our best on a daily basis.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of the top seven superfoods women should eat plenty of…
#1 — Edamame
If you’ve never had edamame, you’re missing out!
These soybean pods are not only packed with fiber and the good fats your body needs, but they also deliver a healthy punch of compounds known as isoflavones. This is important, especially during menopause, since isoflavones are phytoestrogens and so are considered “estrogen-like.”
So, as your own natural levels of estrogen fall, they give you a tasty way to compensate and ease menopause symptoms like hot flashes and trouble sleeping.
If you’ve had breast cancer and have concerns about eating soy, check out information from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute that Dr. Elizabeth Klodas shared in a recent post. Many women may be avoiding soy when it could, in fact, be beneficial.
#2 — Kale
Kale is a superfood powerhouse. And while it’s great for both sexes, women especially should make it a regular part of their diet. That’s because this green machine is loaded with:
- Vitamin D for strong bones and immune system
- Calcium for healthy bones and joints
- Vitamin K to make sure that calcium gets where it needs to go and promote healthy clotting
- Vitamin A to support healthy vision and immune function
- Vitamin C to keep your collagen levels healthy (think lifted skin), scavenge free radicals and help you fight off germs
It’s easy to see why kale should be a staple on your grocery list.
#3 — Asparagus
Asparagus is another food high in vitamin K with over 91 mcg in just one cup. Why is that important?
Well, as we said with kale, vitamin K works with calcium to help it get to your bones where it can do its work to make them strong.
As an added bonus, by making sure calcium is laid down in your bones rather than your blood vessels, vitamin K helps support the health of your heart as well!
#4 — Beans
According to Harvard Medical School, one of the healthiest things you can eat is beans. In fact, studies show that eating just one cup of beans or lentils per day, in combination with a low-glycemic diet, can help lower both your blood sugar levels and your risk of coronary artery disease risk if you have type 2 diabetes.
#5 — Grapefruit
Every woman should grab some flavonoid power with grapefruit. That’s because these powerful little compounds have been found to not only help keep your heart healthy but can also reduce your risk of certain types of stroke.
The specific flavonoid, almost exclusive to grapefruit (Naringin), has also been associated with lowered cholesterol, reduced risk of atherosclerosis and lowered oxidative stress and inflammation.
#6 — Berries
Packed with collagen-building vitamin C as well as skin-healthy antioxidants, berries — whether blue, red or even purple — are a tasty way to enjoy firmer, smoother, healthier skin as you age.
And to top it off, there is strong evidence that berries can help reduce age-related memory loss and help keep your brain healthy thanks to their free-radical-scavenging antioxidants that protect brain cells from damage.
#7 — Papaya
The lycopene found in papaya is a great way to get heart healthy since studies show that eating lycopene-based foods daily can significantly reduce heart disease risk for post-menopausal women.
And as an added bonus, the lycopene found in papaya may also inhibit breast cancer cells.
- The Specific Role of Isoflavones on Estrogen Metabolism in Premenopausal Women — NCBI
- Straight Talk About Soy — Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
- Soy isoflavones, estrogen therapy, and breast cancer risk: analysis and commentary — Nutrition Journal
- Isoflavone Supplements for Menopausal Women: A Systematic Review — NCBI
- Vitamin A — NIH
- Vitamin C — NIH
- Vitamin C and Skin Health — Oregon State University
- Calcium — NIH
- Vitamin K — WebMD
- Vitamin K in Asparagus (Cooked, Boiled, Drained) — INRTracker
- Beans may help control blood sugar in people with diabetes — Harvard Health Publishing
- Flavonoids in Grapefruit and Commercial Grapefruit Juices — Florida Department of Citrus
- Strong scientific evidence that eating berries benefits the brain — ACS
- Dietary and Plasma Lycopene and the Risk of Breast Cancer — Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention
- Super Foods for Women — WebMD