5 Super Foods For Every Women

You want to lose weight and improve your health so you've made a point to add nutritious foods like fruits, veggies and whole grains to your diet. Great start! But the key is that you shouldn't just eat healthfully; you should eat smart, too.

See, everything you put into your body is essentially a tool in your disease-fighting arsenal, and picking the very best weapons is paramount. So, what exactly are the best dietary weapons of choice?

Any food that can help you look and feel great now, and protect the future you from a variety of women's health concerns ranging from breast cancer and heart disease to saggy skin and brittle bones. And that's where these superfoods come in!

Since there are lot of potential candidates on supermarket shelves, we've dug through the science to find out which ones offer that extra edge. All five superfoods below are delicious and powerful allies for your health and weight loss efforts for years to come. 


Fatty fish-- like salmon, sardines, and mackerel

The healthy factor in fish is omega-3 fatty acids, and specifically two types known as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).

“Fatty fish not only plays a vital role in the health of the membrane of every cell in our body, it also helps protect us from a number of key health threats,” says Laurie Tansman, MS, RD, CDN, a nutritionist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.

Some of those threats include heart disease, stroke, hypertension, depression, joint pain, and a number of illnesses linked to inflammation, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Somer says fish may even offer some protection against Alzheimer’s disease.

While many foods -- such as walnuts, flaxseed oil, and some mayonnaise brands -- claim the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, Somer cautions that only the DHA or EPA forms of omega-3 can be directly used by the body.

“What you get in foods like walnuts and flaxseed oil is an omega-3 acid known as ALA -- alpha-linoleic acid,” says Somer. “And while it’s certainly good for you, it requires a process in the body to convert it to DHA. And that conversion process can be influenced by a variety of individual factors.”

The good news: You are likely to see a wheelbarrow full of new products supplemented with DHA slowly making their way to market in the coming year. Currently, Kellogg is reportedly developing a cereal fortified with DHA, while a company called Nutri-Kids has already launched a DHA fortified ready-to-drink milk product. You can also find eggs fortified with DHA and, says Somer, certain brands of soymilk.



Don’t let the color scare you: These crimson root vegetables are sweet, rich and buttery. And the nutritional value beets pack is so great, you really should get to know them better.

Why it’s a good food for women: A 2012 study published in the journal Nutrition found that drinking a glass of beet juice (otherwise known as beetroot) may immediately lower your blood pressure.

Even if you think you’re at risk for high blood pressure, you will be. One in three Americans has hypertension and 90% will get it in their lifetime. High blood pressure can damage your arteries, which can lead to plaque buildup, heart disease, blood clots and strokes.

According to Jonny Bowden, PhD, author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth (Fair Winds Press), beets are loaded with potassium, which counteract the effects of our salt-heavy diet.

They’re also 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.


Tomatoes (or watermelon, red grapefruit, red navel oranges)

The powerhouse nutrient in all these fruits is lycopene. And, according to Miller, while the headlines touted its protective effects against prostate cancer, more quiet research has shown it has tremendous health benefits for women as well.

“Research is starting to show that lycopene may protect against breast cancer,” Miller says. "And it’s also a powerful antioxidant that can help a woman fight heart disease.”

The very latest research shows it may also help keep you looking younger longer by protecting against UV damage from the sun.



Broccoli aids in weight management and helps lower cholesterol and risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes

High cholesterol is a life-threatening condition that develops when fat builds up in the blood vessels.

Left untreated it can lead to heart attack and stroke. Luckily, it's not too difficult to combat. Simply eating a healthy diet that includes soluble fiber-rich whole grains—like oatmeal—can help. Oatmeal can also protect you from heart disease.

A Harvard study of more than 68,000 women found that those who ate the most fiber daily were 23% less likely to develop heart disease than were those who consumed the least.

Thanks to the breakfast staple's high fiber content, it can also slash the odds of developing type 2 diabetes by a whopping 61%! The superstar nutrient also helps stabilize blood sugar, which wards off diet-derailing hunger and dangerous dips in glucose. In other words, eating oatmeal can actually help keep you trim and healthy.



Spice up your meals with turmeric. Most often found in yellow curry dishes, turmeric is a member of the ginger family.

Why it’s a good food for women: Curcumin, a plant nutrient that gives turmeric its deep golden hue, has long been used in Eastern medicine to treat infections and help speed wound healing.

Preliminary research in mice suggests that the spice may be useful in treating conditions like inflammation, digestive problems, arthritis and Alzheimer’s.

“Regions of India with the highest regular consumption of turmeric have the lowest rates in the world of Alzheimer’s disease,” Bazilian says, “It may help promote brain health as we age.”

The body can absorb only a fraction of the curcumin we eat, but adding black pepper may boost our system’s ability to use it by 2,000%, according to Indian researchers.

DC Health News Team

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