When it comes to making healthier choices, finding foods that pack in the most possible nutrient power is a wise move. Superfoods are those that tend to be nutrient dense and therefore good for your overall health. However, as a woman, you know your overall health needs can differ from that of a man’s.
As women, our bodies have an entirely separate set of nutritional demands that must be met in order to keep us looking and functioning our best.
That’s why we’ve rounded up a list of superfoods just for the ladies and women’s health! These particular foods would make a great choice in meeting some of your nutritional needs while also helping you on your goal to lose weight.
Here are six healthy superfoods for women’s health to add to your shopping list today.
Beans pack in the nutritional benefits including fiber and protein, making them a powerhouse food for these reasons alone. Beans can help fill you up and keep you feeling full for longer. They’re also a good source of magnesium.
According to Premier Health, the combination of magnesium and vitamin B6 has been shown to reduce PMS symptoms in women. Magnesium “regulates serotonin levels” that effect mood and may also help to decrease bloating. Premier Health explains that beans just may help reduce the uncomfortable and often frustrating symptoms of water retention and bloating.1
Plus, it helps that beans are so easy to eat! They can very easily be added to various dishes and serve as a great meat substitute if you’re moving toward a more plant-based diet.
2. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which research has shown offer excellent heart health benefits. A study, published in the journal Hypertension, specifically looked at women of reproductive age (who were previously underrepresented in studies). They found that a low intake of fish is associated with an increased risk of heart disease in this younger population.2
Fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, cod, canned light tuna and Atlantic mackerel, says Mayo Clinic.3 While buying and preparing fish may feel intimidating if you haven’t previously done so, you can start simple. Tuna, for instance, is found in a can and can be added to a salad or a sandwich. We also have plenty of easy recipes featuring fresh or frozen fish right here on The Leaf. Check out this simple Sheet Pan Pesto Salmon and Veggies! >
Tomatoes are a superfood that are packed with lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that gives a tomato its bright red coloring. Lycopene is also thought to play a role in cancer prevention. A lot of the research has previously focused on lycopene and prostate cancer. However, research, published in Cancer Science, indicates that lycopene may have a role in preventing breast cancer, making it an important antioxidant for women.4
If you’re looking for more ways to get tomatoes into your diet, we have plenty of recipes that you can try. We believe it shouldn’t have to be difficult to incorporate superfoods for women’s health into your day.
As its moniker suggests, watermelon is mostly made up of water—more than 90 percent, according to Medical News Today.5 This makes it a great fruit to incorporate if you’re looking for ways to stay hydrated. There has been a wealth of recent research demonstrating the importance of hydration—much of it pointing toward the fact that even mild dehydration can impact everything from our cognitive health6 to our mood.7
In addition to H2O, watermelon is also packed with nutrients, including the antioxidant lycopene that’s found in tomatoes. Along with lycopene, watermelon also contains many other vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium. Vitamin C is used to produce collagen and promotes healthy skin, says Medical News Today.5
5. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are a go-to superfood choice that many people already have on their list for their vitamin benefits. You probably already know that leafy greens like kale, Brussels sprouts and Swiss chard are rich in vitamins. But did you know they also contain quite a bit of calcium?
Since simply being female does put you at a higher risk of osteoporosis, it’s important to find ways to incorporate more calcium into your diet. According to Cleveland Clinic, the best sources include dairy products, dark leafy green vegetables, beans, dried peas and fortified foods like orange juice and cereal.8 If kale isn’t your go-to green, there are others you can try and many ways to incorporate them into your daily meals.
Most people think of bananas for their potassium power—and that’s certainly true. This is especially important for women, as research out of the University of Surrey indicates potassium may be able to provide some protection against osteoporosis, says ScienceDaily.9 Because it is an electrolyte, potassium also has the added benefit of helping muscles to recover faster from a workout. And thanks to containing folate, a nutrient that research has shown may play a role in fighting depression, bananas may also help to boost your mood, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.10
With all of these benefits, you’ll want to find ways to incorporate bananas into more meals—and it’s easy to do just that with a variety of simple recipes! Check out some of our favorite banana recipes below:
*Always speak to a doctor before making any changes to your diet.