We're a special lot. And so are our bodies. We have particular dietary requirements and we need to ensure we get certain vitamins and minerals in our bodies every day. So what are the best foods for women? Read on for our list of our top six picks!
Low-fat natural yoghurt is high in protein, low in fat and also offers healthy bacteria or "probiotics" to keep your gut functioning efficiently. By including yoghurt in your diet, you can help ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory digestive tract disorders, as well as prevent vaginal infections. Plus, yoghurt is also full of calcium, which is essential for women to help strengthen their bones and teeth, potentially prevent osteoporosis and ease PMS symptoms like bloating and moodiness. Look for a low-fat, low-sugar option that contains "live cultures" (e.g. Greek yoghurt), and add some antioxidant-rich berries, Brazil nuts or LSA (linseed, sunflower seeds, almonds) mix on top.
Fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel
Certain fish types are rich in iron, calcium and vitamin D -- all of which are very important for women's health. The omega 3 fats in fish like salmon are also fantastic for the brain and nervous system. The benefits of vitamin D (which is found in fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines) include helping the body to absorb calcium and possibly reducing the risk of osteoporosis and tumours of the breast and ovary.
Beans are high in protein and fibre, low in fat and may also be helpful in the fight against breast cancer. Additionally, they can help balance female hormones, meaning they're very beneficial for women experiencing PMS, peri-menopause or menopause symptoms. Beans are a great source of iron, which helps boost your red blood cell count and transports oxygen through the bloodstream. Iron is particularly important for women as we lose red blood cells through menstruation. Beans are also high in folic acid, which is vital for women who are breastfeeding, pregnant or planning a pregnancy, as folate is believed to help reduce spinal cord defects in newborns.
The soy protein found in tofu is rich in calcium and great for your heart, and also helps to lower your cholesterol levels. Tofu is high in iron, which as discussed earlier, is essential for women's health. Add some cubed, firm tofu to your veggie stir-fry for a healthy and delicious boost.
Tomatoes are packed with lycopene, which may help protect you against breast cancer, cervical cancer and heart disease. It could also potentially keep you looking younger too, as some research has revealed that it may also help protect against UV damage from the sun. Throw some halved cherry tomatoes into a salad, or roast them in the oven for a warming winter side dish.
Berries are packed with antioxidants and are believed to help reduce your risk of heart-related diseases and cancer. Cranberries in particular are great for women's health. The proanthocyanidins found in these types of berries help stop bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder, meaning they essentially help to fight off urinary tract infections (UTIs). Nosh on a few cranberries or drink a glass of unsweetened 100 per cent cranberry juice. Other berries like blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are also fantastic for you as they're high in vitamin C, folic acid and the cancer-fighting nutrients, anthocyans.