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Well, I personally think that there are more than six superfoods for women, but here are some of the top ones! In the October edition of Delicious Living magazine, there was an article that I thought was worth sharing. I was happy to see that I do consume all but one of the foods on the list. Number six is one that I am struggling with, but I’ll get there!
Women are special creatures – we deal with hormones that can fluctuate like crazy, we are expected to make money, make babies and make cookies. If you’re already a mother, you understand the endless responsibilities that you have to your children, your spouse, and to yourself. Unfortunately, many women, mothers or not, don’t pay a lot of attention to that last one. The responsibility to ourselves. We have to learn to take care of ourselves so that we can continue a long life of superherodom!
These are the top 6 superfoods that all women should be getting plenty of in their diet:
1. Flax seeds – Flax seeds are very rich in lignans, which are special compounds that help regulate estrogen levels. Studies have shown that flax seeds can help protect women against breast cancer and irregular ovulation. They also provide lots of Omega-3 fatty acids and protein. You can buy flax meal that is already ground, or you can buy the whole seeds and grind them yourself in a coffee grinder. Flax meal can go rancid very easily, so I recommend storing it in the fridge in an airtight container and using it quickly. I use flax in cereal, smoothies, salads and baked goods. (image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
2. Blueberries – I love blueberries. This is one fruit that I don’t have a problem eating a ton of. I eat them fresh and frozen, alone or mixed in yogurt, cereal, salads or smoothies. Pretty much any way I can get them, I’ll eat them! These berries are little powerhouses of nutrition, packed with important antioxidants that help with brain function. There has been research that shows that these antioxidants can help prevent Alzheimer’s, which sadly strikes one in every six women (a shocking statistic). They also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent cancer and heart disease. (image courtesy of tvvoodoo and stock.xchng)
3. Leafy greens – Yet another one of my favorites. I love greens in all shapes and sizes. They are versatile and can be used in many different ways, from salads to soup to casseroles to pasta. The most common leafy greens are spinach, chard, and kale, yet there are many other varieties out there like mustard greens, turnip greens, collard greens and more. Greens are a great source of calcium and folic acid, which is why it is recommend that pregnant women get plenty of greens in their diet. One of the properties in some greens can even help the body metabolize estrogen into a more usable form and it helps protect against hormone-related cancers. (image courtesy of Mitch Nicklas)
4. Green tea – You hear about the benefits of green tea everywhere, but one thing to keep in mind is that all green teas on the market are not created equal. Many do not have the antioxidant benefits that they claim, due to poor processing and poor quality products. I would stick with a high quality, organic green tea and stay away from pre-made and bottled green tea drinks. Green tea has been studied for many years and has the most well known antioxidant, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). This compound has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer and skin cancer, along with helping brain function and alertness, fatigue and weight loss. One thing to keep in mind when preparing your green tea is to never let the water get too hot. If green tea is exposed to too much heat, it can alter some of the beneficial compounds. (image courtesy of scataudo and stock.xchng)
5. Pomegranates – This is one of my favorite winter-time fruits and I am always excited when I see them arriving at my local grocery store. Many people are intimidated by pomegranates, but with some simple tips, they are much easier to open than you’d think. The fruit has high levels of antioxidants that can help lower blood pressure and increase circulation, and because if it’s anti-inflammatory properties, the juice can also help prevent heart disease and osteoarthritis. (image courtesy of hamletnc and stock.xchng)
6. Sardines – This is the only one on the list that is going to need some work for me. I have tried sardines in the past and have been less than thrilled. But, my mother eats them regularly and has told me that I need to continue eating them because they are another little powerhouse of nutrition. Sardines are an eco-friendly fish and a fantastic source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are very important to many functions in our body, including reduction of LDL (the bad) cholesterol, lowering of blood pressure, and protection of arteries from damage. (image courtesy of rainbowj and stock.xchng)