10 practical and healthy foods for women
May is Women's Health Month. Getting and staying healthy is crucial for a long life and avoiding sickness. Getting the proper amount of sleep and exercise are well-known factors in achieving this. Another is eating food good for health. When it comes to diet though, are some foods specifically better for women than men? The answer is yes. There are several risk factors that make women more vulnerable to certain diseases than men. And like an exercise routine, your diet must be something that you will enjoy, not abandon. Here are 10 healthy foods for women that are packed with vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants that can help you stay healthier and are practical to your wallet and palate.
- Kale - A half-cup of kale juice per day jacked up helpful HDL cholesterol by 27% and lowered artery-clogging LDL cholesterol in just 12 weeks. Kale is loaded with vitamin C (great for your complexion) as well as calcium and vitamin A. Leafy greens also contain carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin that help preserve vision and prevent eyestrain, serious assets for those who stare at a computer screen all day.
- Black beans - They’re loaded with the essential minerals folate, magnesium and iron. Beans are also the only food that are both a complex carbohydrate and a protein source. Black beans, in particular, have three times the amount of omega-3 fats than other beans, and their dark skin contains cancer-fighting chemicals called flavonoids.
- Blueberries - Though still being studied, plants with these super-antioxidants have anti-inflammatory powers that may lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and arthritis and protect against mental decline, according to various studies.
- Broccoli - In lab studies, sulforaphane, a chemical found in broccoli and its cousins, actually made cancer cells like leukemia and melanoma self-destruct. A 2007 Chinese study found that the compound may slow down the spread of breast cancer. One cup of broccoli has 135% of your daily vitamin C needs.
- Quinoa - Quinoa is a good source of magnesium, which helps relax blood vessels and maintain healthy blood pressure levels. It may even help prevent migraines. Whole grains like quinoa are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and quinoa contains all nine of the essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein.
- Tart cherries - Research suggests that tart cherries can help relieve arthritis and post-workout muscle soreness, lower cholesterol and possibly even reduce body fat. They are anti-inflammatory superstars and may be great for managing pain. They’ve long been used to treat arthritis and gout symptoms.
- Beets – regulate blood pressure, high in folate, which we need to manufacture new cells and prevent DNA damage (a precursor to cancer). Beet juice may also boost workout stamina by 16%, making exercise feel less tiring so you can go for longer, according to a 2009 English study. The chemicals in beets show great promise in combating cancer and inflammation, too.
- Almonds - a prebiotic food and may ease stomach problems like irritable bowel disorders and diarrhea, and also boost calcium absorption. Snack on a handful daily to lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. The nuts are high in vitamin E, linked to a lower risk of heart disease. A quarter-cup of almonds also contains more protein than an egg, and they’re packed with magnesium, which encourages production of the brain chemical dopamine — good for regulating mood and preventing depression.
- Turmeric – A spice, most often found in yellow curry dishes, may be useful in treating conditions like inflammation, digestive problems, arthritis and Alzheimer’s, treat infections and help speed wound healing
- Sardines - Sardines are an inexpensive and convenient way to fill up on fish oil, vitamin D and calcium all at once. Just one can of bone-in sardines covers 125% of your vitamin D needs, 35% of your calcium needs and 88% of your daily selenium requirement. If you still can’t stomach the tiny fish, canned salmon with the bones will give you the same amount of calcium, vitamin D, omega-3s and selenium.