Sunday, February 27, 2011

Health - Top 10 Healthy Foods For Women

By: Saima Ausaf

Women are undeniably one of God’s best creations. They possess in themselves amazing powers of caring, nurturing and transforming. There is something special in a woman that makes her different to her counterpart. Born as a baby girl, she grows up to be a woman, taking on the responsibility of a wife and later on that of a mother during her life.  

Often the question arises: “do women need to eat differently from men?” After all we are all humans. The answer to the question is obviously in the affirmative as women have unique nutritional requirements to suit their age, body type and physical activities. Besides, they need to be more specific of their nutritional needs as they start to age. Following is the list of top 10 healthy foods that should be incorporated into every woman’s diet.

10. Soy Protein:
Soy protein is protein extracted from soybean and offers multiple health benefits.
Research demonstrates that soy protein decreases LDL (bad) cholesterol and tends to increase HDL (good) cholesterol. The role of soy in reducing osteoporosis (the thinning of bone tissues and loss of bone density) cannot be ignored. The menopause and specifically declining levels of oestrogen are associated with a sharp fall in levels of collagen (a protein used for connecting and supporting body tissues). Soy contains phytoestrogens which have a similar effect on the body as oestrogen, so if you are an older woman, including soy products such as: soy milk, soy nuts and cereal in your diet may help your skin to keep producing collagen. According to American Heart Association (AHA), aim for up to 25 grams of soy protein per day.

9. Whole Grains and Beans:
Since these are high in fiber, they tend to keep you full longer by providing long-lasting energy and help with weight control. Besides this, they help ward off digestive problems that are so common in women. Try including whole grains like:  brown rice, bran flakes, whole grain breads and barley into your diet. Having plenty of natural fiber in your diet, from beans, legumes and lentils help check chronic diseases like colon and breast cancers. Also, beans are low in fat, inexpensive and a filling way to beat hunger.

8. Foods Rich in Folates:
When a woman reaches childbearing age, she needs to eat enough folic acid to decrease the risks of birth defects. This can be consumed through fortified foods or supplements.
Foods rich in folate are: oranges, green leafy vegetables, dry beans, peas and broccoli. Make sure to get the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) 400 micrograms (mcg) per day.

7. Berries:
All forms of berries such as: cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and black berries are full of anti-cancer agents that play a vital role in cell repair and provide protection against the disease including breast and colon cancers (both types are very common amongst women). The proanthocyanidins (a class of flavanols) found in cranberries help prevent the bacteria from sticking to the wall of the bladder, thus minimizing the chances of urinary tract infections (UTIs).

6. Water:
Though not a food, water is vital for all metabolic processes taking place inside the body. Besides it improves the appearance of the skin. Consuming 8 – 10 glasses of water daily is recommended.

5. Green Leafy Vegetables:
Leafy green vegetables such as: spinach, cabbage, lettuces and kale provide important nutrients as well as fiber to the diet. They are packed with antioxidants. KALE is believed to be a rich source of calcium (for strong bones), vitamin C (for immune defense) as well as vitamin B (known to be mood balancer).Try to get at least 3 servings of vegetables each day.

4. Nuts:
Nuts are a good source of protein, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, folate, vitamin E and A.
They are packed with monounsaturated fats (help lower cholesterol levels) and polyunsaturated fats (help prevent heart disease). Since they are high in calories, their serving should be limited to an ounce a day.

3. Fruits Rich in Vitamin C:
These include all citrus fruits, as well as strawberries, kiwi, guavas and tomatoes. Vitamin C is one of the most important of all the vitamins playing an important role as an antioxidant. Mangoes are also a great source of this vitamin as well as that of vitamin A, which is thought to help protect against cervical cancer.

2. Fruits Rich in Iron:
This mineral is the key to good health and energy levels in females. Women need more of this mineral as they tend to lose about 15 – 20 mg each month during menstruation. Low iron levels can also be caused due to improper absorption of the mineral and must be checked by a physician.
Animal products, like lean red meat and dark poultry are good sources of iron-rich foods. Iron from plant sources are found in peas, beans, spinach and other green leafy vegetables. It must be noted here that plant based sources of iron are more easily absorbed by your body when eaten with vitamin C rich foods. So enjoy having fortified cereal with strawberries on top for breakfast, spinach salad with orange slices for lunch or add tomatoes to lentil soup.

1. Calcium Rich Foods:
Females need a high intake of calcium to keep their bones strong. Women have a greater risk than men of developing osteoporosis (a disease in which bone density decreases and leads to weak bones and future fractures). During adolescence and early adulthood, women should include good food sources of calcium in their diets as this is the time when bone growth is occurring and calcium is being deposited into the bones.
Good choices of some high calcium foods include: low-fat milk, yoghurt, cheese, tofu, calcium fortified juices and calcium fortified grains.

Hence a well balanced diet is a cornerstone of any woman’s health. By eating healthy, you not only take care of yourself but also of those depending on you. A healthy diet gives you energy to get through your busy day, helps to maintain your weight and makes you look your best. So all the girls and ladies reading this, make sure that you incorporate the above mentioned foods in your diet in order to look and feel your best! Remember it is never too late to start!


  1. Very useful source of reference for making a healthy diet plan !

  2. Women should definitely eat these kinds of food to maintain their health. Thanks a lot for sharing your insights.

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