A woman’s body goes through multiple changes throughout her lifetime. Right from puberty to menopause, there are a lot of things at stake, especially involving their overall physical and mental well-being. Prioritizing a healthy, balanced, and nutritious diet is thus crucial for female health.
Having awareness of the best foods to consume makes a huge difference to one’s health, especially when it involves prospects of weight loss/gain, hormonal balance, menopausal symptoms, fertility, or pregnancy.
This article will explore the top women health food to support one’s overall health and well-being.
What is a Healthy Diet for Women?
A woman’s body performs a plethora of unique physiological functions that demand a fulfilling and nutritious diet containing fresh produce, healthy fats, protein, and even carbohydrates.
A healthy women’s diet should contain:
- A wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Legumes, including beans, lentils, and peas
- Protein-rich foods, including poultry, meat, dairy, nuts, seeds, etc.
- Whole grains
- Unsweetened dairy products
- Healthy fats include olive oil, oily fish, avocados, etc.
Besides the “DOs”, there are also things that shouldn’t be part of a healthy woman’s diet. These include:
- Limiting consumption of refined grains and refined sugar on a daily basis
- Limiting the consumption of saturated fats and eliminating trans fats entirely
- Limiting the sodium consumption to 2300 mg per day
- Limiting alcohol consumption every day
Overall, there are no “standard” diets that fit every woman. Every woman’s body is different and their nutritional needs are different too. So, it is all about listening to your body and eating what you think is healthy for your well-being.
Best Foods to Add to a Woman’s Diet
With the basic rundown of what constitutes a healthy diet, let us shift our focus onto the list of essential foods to include in the diet for working women.
These include basic nutrient requirements and superfoods that we often push to the curbside.
Broccoli is a hit or miss among people. Either you love it or you don’t. However, unless you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, broccoli is a must include in your daily diet.
Since women are at risk of developing certain cancers like breast cancer, cervical cancer, etc., including fresh green vegetables like broccoli can effectively prevent those risks from amplifying and manifesting in the body.
However, since broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, it is also a goitrogen, so if you have thyroid disorders, especially hypothyroidism, we’d recommend skipping or limiting the consumption of broccoli.
Almonds are packed with a variety of nutrients, including Vitamin E, magnesium, iron, calcium, and riboflavin. A handful of soaked almonds in the morning can do wonders for your body throughout the day and in the long term.
Not just for the healthy fats and their satiating nature, almonds are also effective in reducing the risks of high cholesterol levels.
Regulated cholesterol in women reduces the risks of hypertension, arterial blockages, and other cardiovascular complications.
Often considered a superfood, beets are often underrated. Since women are often at risk of developing high blood pressure, consumption of beets is associated with lowering those alarming levels.
The prevalence of high blood pressure is associated with arterial damage and worsening cardiovascular health.
Hence, switching things up in the diet with beet juice can reduce the risks of plaque formation in the arteries and also prevent the formation of blood clots.
- Brazil Nuts
When talking about the healthiest nuts in the world, brazil nuts are no doubt a worthy mention in the list. Not only are they a great source of carbohydrates, but the nuts are also loaded with protein too.
What makes them a must-have in women’s care is due to the selenium content. Selenium supports thyroid function and also prevents the risks of oxidative stress in the body.
Besides selenium, brazil nuts are also loaded with a variety of other nutrients, including Vitamin E, Vitamin B1, zinc, and magnesium.
A staple spice in Indian food and culture, Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.
Besides brightening up the color of the dishes it is put in, turmeric also supports optimal wound healing and optimizes the immunity of women.
Also, pre-clinical studies with turmeric suggest that it has effective benefits in reducing the risks of arthritis and Alzheimer’s in women. The active ingredient in Turmeric, curcumin also supports brain health in women.
A must-have in the diets of vegetarian or vegan individuals, lentils are a great source of protein, potassium, magnesium, and dietary fiber.
It is a quintessential addition to the diet for weight loss for female. Their versatile nature also makes them ideal for cooking and also be eaten raw in the form of sprouts.
If you are trying to lose weight and are looking for healthy snack options, sprouted lentils make a very good addition to the list.
Fatty fish like sardines and salmon are also a crucial need in every woman’s diet. They are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which support heart health and reduce the risks of high cholesterol levels.
Besides the healthy fats, sardines are also loaded with calcium and Vitamin D, both of which are crucial nutrients that women need to keep themselves in the best of their health.
According to studies, one can of sardines compensate for 125% of Vitamin D needs, 88% of selenium requirement, and 35% of calcium every day. Overall, it keeps your nutritional requirements in check and also prevents the risks of free radical damage that’s prevalent due to the drastic changes in our lifestyle.
Oatmeal has a very bland reputation in the market. However, keeping the taste component aside, oatmeal is actually a great food to add to a woman’s everyday diet.
Studies have found that the consumption of oatmeal for breakfast can drastically reduce the risks of cardiovascular complications in women. Since it has high fiber content, it keeps one full for a longer period, thereby preventing overeating and promoting weight loss.
Besides this, oatmeal’s fiber content also keeps cholesterol levels in check, further reducing the risks of heart complications.
Oatmeal also contains a decent amount of potassium and folate in it, both of which support the hormonal and physiological functioning in women.
This is one of the best types of berries that every woman should include in their daily diet. Packed with antioxidants like anthocyanidins, blueberries reduce the risks of cancers and also promote immunity in women.
Further paired with anti-inflammatory properties, blueberries also reduce the risks of diabetes, cardiovascular complications, and other chronic diseases in women.
What’s great about blueberries is that they make a versatile inclusion in one’s diet. You can have them in smoothies, pancakes, or on toasted bread for breakfast or you can snack on them when you are hungry.
As lame as it sounds, Apples deserve a spot on the list. They are one of the most underrated fruits but are an excellent source of dietary fiber and antioxidants.
Given the kind of lifestyle we live and the amount of environmental pollution that surrounds us, the risk of free radical damage is exponentially heightened.
Consuming Apples throughout the day is a great way to keep those risks at bay. Reducing free radical damage also prevents the risks of DNA mutations and cancers in the body.
Some studies even indicate that the consumption of apples is associated with a longer lifespan as well. So, it is true when they say that an Apple a day, keeps the doctor away.
- Black Beans
A lot similar to lentils, even black beans also made a great addition to a woman’s diet. Besides their substantial protein content, black beans also contain a considerable amount of magnesium, iron, and folate.
If you want to up your protein for weight loss female, adding black beans to the diet can help you make substantial progress.
Black beans are also a great meat alternative for vegetarians and vegans. Women who are at risk of diabetes can also benefit from consuming black beans since they have prominent benefits in regulating blood glucose levels in the body.
They are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce cardiovascular complications. Their flavonoid content is impressive too, imposing cancer-fighting properties in the body.
However, consuming beans is limited because eating too much of it can lead to bloating and flatulence.
- Leafy Greens
You can never compare the health benefits of leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, chard, etc. They are a powerhouse of nutrients and contain a variety of essential vitamins and minerals that the body needs for optimal health.
Besides the nutritional content, leafy green vegetables also reduce cardiovascular triggers in the body, keeping one’s heart healthy.
They are also loaded with water-soluble fiber, which improves bowel movement and relieves complaints of constipation in women. If you are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, including a bunch of greens in your meal can supplement those deficiencies well.
Although a great food for a woman’s diet, it is again a hit or miss among most people. Some enjoy the creamy texture of this fruit while others don’t like the flavorless taste it has.
That said, avocados are loaded with healthy fats and fibers, all of which support the physiological functions of a woman’s body.
Not just that, avocados have a high level of Vitamin B, E, and K in them, which optimize one’s immunity and overall physical well-being.
Studies also indicate that avocados elevate the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in the body, thereby supporting heart health and reducing potential risks of blood clots and plaque formation in the body.
Some research also suggests that daily consumption of avocados can reduce the risks of breast cancer in females exponentially.
Eggs are often villainized, mainly due to the fat content in the yolks. However, what we fail to realize is that eggs are a great source of protein and Vitamin B12 in a woman’s diet.
They also contain essential amino acids like leucine, which promote protein synthesis in the muscles. Eggs also supplement the body with choline, another amino acid that’s crucial for cell membrane synthesis.
Overall, eggs are not just a fulfilling addition to your meal, they also keep your body’s overall functioning in check. Surprisingly, a study also found that the consumption of eggs regulates the cholesterol levels in the body, promoting heart health.
Consuming eggs in moderation each day can positively influence one’s overall well-being, instead of setting them up for further complications.
Last on the list is chicken, which is hands down one of the most versatile meat-based protein sources. It is a lean protein, meaning that it isn’t associated with risks of plaque formation or blockages in the arteries.
The only takeaway in the situation is to prioritize choosing lean chicken with no skin. The chicken skin itself has a very high level of saturated fats in them, which does no good to the body.
Besides protein, chicken also has a good amount of Vitamin B12, ideal for promoting the formation of red blood cells in the body. It also supports brain function, especially in women who are in their menopausal stages and are consistently aging.
- What are the special nutritional needs of females?
Besides the standard macronutrients, a woman’s diet should also contain a healthy balance of calcium, Vitamin D, and folate in it.
- How can a woman start a healthy lifestyle?
If you want to make substantial changes to your lifestyle, always start small. Making life-altering changes out of the blue is difficult to sustain, so start with smaller changes to your diet and lifestyle and work your way up.
- What are the 3 keys to a healthy lifestyle?
The trifecta to a healthy life for a female is eating a nutritious and balanced diet, staying physically active, and getting quality sleep through the night.
Now, that rounds up all the details for a healthy diet plan for women. If you want to make noticeable changes to your lifestyle, now is the time to start. The quicker you introduce good foods to your diet, the easier it becomes for you to make this into a sustainable habit. It’s not about quitting foods you love. Instead, it’s more about eating the right amount of good food each day.