Ladies, This One’s For You: The Best Foods for Women to Eat

Let’s face it ladies – being a woman isn’t east. We have to deal with hormonal mood swings, cramps, headaches; not to mention going to work, maintaining the household, and raising kids! And we want to look good doing it all, right?

Dealing with the stress of life isn’t always in our control. But one thing that is 100% under our control is what we eat. Do you know how they say we are what we eat? Well, there’s some truth to that. Everything you put into your body can be a tool in your health toolbox, so to speak. Choosing the right foods to eat is like choosing the right weapon to fight against the battles of aging and disease.

The following healthy foods can help protect the future you from many conditions and diseases that tend to plague the female gender, like diabetes, breast cancer, and heart disease. These foods can also help strengthen your bones, improve your immune system, protect your skin, and nurture you and your developing baby (if you’re preggers!).

First: Foods For Your Heart

We’re going to start with heart health. Why? Because heart disease is the leading killer of women (as well as men) in America. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every four female deaths is a result of heart disease.

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The foods we’re about to go through can help ward off some of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease, which are high blood pressure, stroke, high cholesterol, and heart disease.

So let’s get started…

Salmon

Why you should eat it:

Eating salmon can prevent heart disease, lower your risk of getting arthritis, smoothen your skin, and boost your mood. Salmon also helps with weight loss because omega-3s slow down the digestion rate, which makes you feel fuller longer, and thus you eat fewer calories throughout the day.

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The details: Fatty fish like wild salmon, mackerel, and herring have super health-promoting powers due to their high omega-3 content. Salmon is also a rich source of vitamin D, and it’s one of the best sources of omega-3s you’ll ever find. The problem is many women aren’t reaping these benefits because we tend to be deficient in omega-3.

Dark Chocolate

Why you should eat it:

Eating dark chocolate can lower your risk of developing heart failure. And when you buy dark chocolate, make sure to choose the dark chocolate that contains 74% or more cocoa solids.

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The details: Dozens of studies have shown that people who consume cocoa are in better cardiovascular shape than those who don’t. A nine-year study in the journal Circulation Heart Failure found that women who ate one to two servings of high-quality chocolate per week had a 32% lower risk of developing heart failure. Cocoa’s health benefits are attributed to its high concentrations of polyphenols and flavanols, the anti-inflammatory compounds that protect the heart.

Walnuts

Why you should eat them:

Walnuts prevent the risk of heart disease, are full in omega-3 fatty acids, improve blood flow, and help delay development of breast cancer.

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The details: One in four American women die of heart disease every year. This heart-shaped nut is full of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. One recent study found that eating two ounces a day could substantially improve your blood flow to and from the heart in a matter of 8 weeks. Another study found that the same amount of walnuts can help delay the development of breast cancer and slow tumor growth in mice.

Garlic

Why you should eat it:

Garlic doesn’t just add flavor to your food; it also lowers your blood pressure and decreases your chances of suffering from heart disease and stroke. But it’s important to note that cooking garlic destroys the benefits, so you should by garlic powder, aged garlic extract, or sprouted garlic.

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The details: About one-third of women between 45 and 55 have high blood pressure, which is a condition that can lead to more serious problems like heart disease or stroke. Garlic is a heart-disease-fighting superstar. It contains phytochemicals, including allicin, which the Journal of Integrated Blood Pressure Control showed has the ability to decrease high blood pressure by as much as 10 points.

See which foods you should eat to lower your blood pressure here.

Olive Oil

Why you should eat it:

Adding oil to your diet can help prevent the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease. Olive oil also lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol.

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The details: A study from the New England Journal of Medicine found that the Mediterranean diet, which is full of healthy fats like olive oil, prevents about 30% of heart attacks, strokes, and deaths in people with high cardiovascular risk. Olive oil is loaded with monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), which is the main fighter against heart disease.

Apples

Why you should eat them:

Apples are one of three foods that are most effective at reducing the risk of death from heart disease among women.

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The details: Yes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Why? Because of something called Metabolic syndrome. It refers to a cluster of conditions like insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol — the main contributors to heart disease. Apples help fight metabolic syndrome. So crunch away at your favorite kind. (Macintosh is by far the tastiest).

Oatmeal

Why you should eat it:

Oatmeal can help protect you from heart disease and keep you feeling full longer. And due to its high fiber content, it can lower the chances of developing type 2 diabetes by a 6%!

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The details: High cholesterol can lead to heart attack and stroke. But the good news is that high cholesterol can be fought. Simply eating a healthy diet with soluble fiber-rich whole grains, like oatmeal, can really help. A Harvard study found that women who ate the most fiber daily were 23% less likely to develop heart disease.

Beans

Why you should eat them:

Beans don’t have any unhealthy fats, so they reduce the bad cholesterol in your blood and help lower the chances of heart disease. They’re also full of protein and a great meat replacement.

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The details: Unlike animal sources of protein, beans have no unhealthy fats. One study found that people who consumed legumes at least four times a week had a 22% lower risk of heart disease. The Canadian Medical Association Journal found that eating 3/4 of a cup of beans every day could reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood by 5%.

Next, we’re moving on to the foods that boost brainpower!

Foods That Boost Your Brainpower

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease (the neurodegenerative disorder which is the most common type of dementia) is currently the 5th leading cause of death in females, and it affects far more women than men. In fact, about 2/3 of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women.

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Experts believe that some risk factors are related to the lack of eating antioxidant-rich foods, which can lead to cognitive decline. So try to add the following foods to your daily diet to give your brain a long-term boost and avoid cognitive decline.

Shrimp

Why you should eat it:

Not only is shrimp a brain food; it can also help lower your risk of developing breast cancer. The next time you go out for seafood, make sure you order some shrimp!

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The details: Shrimp is the most potent source of choline – and essential and hard-to-get nutrient. It’s a neurotransmitter building block that’s necessary for the structure and function of all the cells in your body. And a deficiency in this nutrient has been linked to neurological disorders and decreased cognitive function.

Cinnamon

Why you should eat it:

Cinnamon moderates your blood sugar levels and inhibit the formation of a protein that can cause Alzheimer’s.

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The details: There’s a genetic basis to Alzheimer’s, so if the disease runs in your family, you should try your best to minimize your risk. What you can do is add cinnamon to your diet. The same elements of cinnamon that moderate blood sugar levels—proanthocyanidins and cinnamaldehyde— also have other properties that can inhibit the formation of Alzheimer’s-causing proteins, according to a study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Blueberries

Why you should eat it:

Blueberries are stellar in their fight against aging. They are full of antioxidants that help cleanse the body. They keep you mentally sharp, and your skin smooth and wrinkle-free. They also help fight against heart disease.

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The details: Blueberries are some of the most potent, age-defying, and antioxidant-rich superfoods. They have anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that cleanse your body of cell-damaging free radicals. In one study, women who ate one weekly serving of blueberries had less mental decline during the course of the study than those who didn’t consume any blueberries.

Almond Butter

Why you should eat it:

You’re better off replacing peanut butter for almond butter because it can raise your chances of beating age-related memory loss and cognitive impairment. Try spreading a teaspoon over a celery stick, or put a spoonful into your oatmeal.

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The details: Almonds have high concentrations of vitamin E (3 times more than peanut butter actually), which can help reduce the risk of cognitive impairment. Some studies show how the nutrient can also slow decline that’s caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

Next, the foods that fight against cancer…

Foods That Protect You From Cancer

Right behind heart disease is cancer as the second highest killer of American women. And as you may already know, breast cancer is the most common, followed by lung cancer. You should know that no single food can promise to keep you cancer-free, but research has clearly shown that cancer prevention relies heavily on a proper diet.

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The following foods are nutritional superfoods when it comes to fighting cancer risk.

See a list of superfoods here that specifically help prevent and fight against cancer and diseases.

Turmeric

Why you should eat it:

Turmeric is an antioxidant that reduces chronic inflammation, which in turn reduces the risk of cancer, breast cancer specifically.

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The details: Researchers have found that one way to reduce the mortality rate of cancer is through prevention, and a major fighter against cancer is turmeric. This ginger-family spice contains curcumin, which is an antioxidant with chemo-preventive properties. According to a study in Molecular Oncology, chronic inflammation is a major risk factor for the development and progression of cancer, and turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties have been found to diminish the formation of breast cancer.

Whole Grain Bread

Why you should eat it:

Whole grain bread is full of fiber, which keeps you feeling full longer and more importantly reduces high estrogen levels – something that contributes to breast cancer development.

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The details: A Harvard study found that eating more fiber-rich foods, like whole grain bread, can lessen breast cancer risk by helping to reduce high estrogen levels in the blood. High estrogen levels are strongly linked with breast cancer development. A single slice of whole grain bread can give you up to 6 grams of fiber.

Tomatoes

Why you should eat them:

Eating tomatoes can help protect our blood from damage that can lead to a number of cancers, including breast, endometrial, lung, stomach, prostate, and renal cell carcinoma cancers.

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The details: Tomatoes have a high concentration of the antioxidant lycopene which helps fight against the cancers listed above. And Ohio State researchers found that the heating process when cooking tomatoes actually increases the amount of lycopene. So make sure you add tomato paste, sautéed tomatoes, or an organic tomato sauce to your cooked food! Think omelets, pasta, and chicken parmesan, for instance.

Peanuts

Why you should eat it:

Peanuts may be high in fat, but they’re great at fighting cancer, especially breast and liver cancer.

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The details: Peanuts are a wonderful source of the cancer-fighting choline. The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found that women who ate the highest amount of choline had the lowest risk of breast cancer. And other studies connect choline deficiency with a higher risk of liver cancer.

Green Tea

Why you should drink it:

Not only do the people who live longest in the world drink green tea on a daily basis, but the super tea also has anti-breast cancer properties.

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The details: Green tea is packed with polyphenols, the antioxidant that has huge health benefits, including anti-breast cancer properties. A study of healthy Japanese American from the National Institute of Health’s National Cancer Institute showed that women who drank at least one cup of green tea per day had less urinary estrogen – a known carcinogen of the breast – than those who didn’t drink tea

Pomegranates

Why you should eat them:

Pomegranates have been linked to fertility and health for a long time, but they’re now being appreciated for their ability to inhibit the growth of hormone-dependent breast cancer.

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The details: Pomegranates have an amazing ability to inhibit the growth of hormone-dependent breast cancer. According to a study from Cancer Prevention Research, ellagic acid in pomegranates can help in the fight against cancer by suppressing estrogen production, which prevents the growth of breast cancer cells. By the way, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, walnuts, and pecans are also rich in ellagic acid.

Now moving on to foods that improve your immunity and mood…

Foods That Boost Your Immunity and Mood

Women happen to be more prone than men to anxiety and depression, with about 12 million women affected by a depressive disorder each year. And when your stress levels are high, your immune system is at risk. According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, about 75% of people who live with autoimmune diseases are women.

Source: harvard.edu

The following foods will fight those stress hormones that tend to destroy your immune system (and your waist). These foods will help alleviate issues linked to autoimmune disorders.

Rooibos Tea

Why you should eat it:

Rooibos tea has an amazing ability to calm the mind and reduce stress hormones that can lead to depression and happen to trigger hunger.

Source: medicalnewstoday.com

The details: When we’re anxious, the stress hormone cortisol rises, which is called the “belly fat hormone” because it pulls lipids from your bloodstream and stores them in your fat cells. What makes rooibos tea great for soothing your mind is its unique flavonoid called aspalathin. Research shows that this compound can reduce stress hormones that can lead to depression and trigger hunger and fat storage.

Portobello Mushrooms

Why you should eat them:

Mushrooms are very low in calories and high in protein and potassium, which is a nutrient that can help lower your blood pressure and offset the negative effects of too much sodium.

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The details: Another reason to add Portobello mushrooms to your shopping list is the fact that researchers at the University of Florida found an increased immunity in people who ate 4 ounces of cooked mushrooms every day for four weeks. Experts attribute this increase to the high levels of vitamin D, and Portobello mushrooms have the greatest concentration.

Brazil Nuts

Why you should eat them:

Brazil nuts help reduce anti-thyroid antibodies, which means they promote proper thyroid function.

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The details: An autoimmune disease that particularly affects women is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a condition that leads to 80% of all hypothyroidism cases. What happens is your immune system attacks your thyroid gland – which controls your metabolism – causing it to have decreased function. The result? You feel sluggish and gain weight more easily. These nuts are rich in selenium, a mineral that creates proper thyroid function.

Beets

Why you should eat them:

Eating beets will help fight inflammation, boost your metabolism, help fight against weight gain, and boost your mood.

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The details: Beets are a source of many phytochemicals and are a unique source of betalain pigments, which show real antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and chemopreventive activity. Beets fight inflammation, rev up your metabolism, positively influence the mechanism for insulin resistance, minimize genes that encourage fat to hang around, and also boosts your mood. Betaine, the nutrient in beets, raises serotonin (the feel-good hormone) levels in the brain. Talk about a superfood!

Next: Wanna know what foods will help you look great?

Foods to Help You Look Great

Do I even need to give you a reason for why women want to look better? When we look good, we feel good, and we even perform better at our jobs. But that doesn’t mean you need to spend your life savings on fancy serums and creams.

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Whether its acne, premature aging, wrinkles, hair, or skin conditions, the right diet can be a powerful tool in your beauty routine.

Red Peppers

Why you should eat them:

Bell peppers actually more vitamin C than oranges. And vitamin C has not only been proven to boost immunity but also benefits the skin.

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The details: Bell peppers are actually the best source of vitamin C, which has major skin and immunity benefits. Researchers in the UK looked at vitamin C intake in women and found that those who ingested more had fewer wrinkles and dry skin. While getting enough vitamin C won’t prevent you from ever catching a cold or flu, studies show that it can help you recover faster.

Cilantro

Why you should eat it:

Cilantro has been found to help deal with cellulite! Yes, cellulite! So add fresh herbs to your diet. And most importantly, cilantro.

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The details: Cellulite is a cosmetic condition that affects nearly 90% of women at some point in their lives, even those who are fit and trim. It’s because cellulite is fat that pushes up against your skin, and the cellulite you see is the result of your skin’s collagen being too weak to support smoother un-dimpled skin. Cilantro promotes detoxification by helping to remove heavy metals from the body that hide in fat cells. And by reducing toxins in your body, you can help get rid of excess stored fat, which will lessen the appearance of cellulite.

Sweet Potatoes

Why you should eat them:

Not only are they full of protein, but sweet potatoes are great for maintaining your eye health. Oh, and not to mention that they improve the natural glow of your skin.

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The details: Women are at greater risk than men for eye-related diseases like cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and we’re also at higher risk for overall health conditions that impact our vision, like diabetes. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, which protects and maintains eye health. A study was seen in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior found that foods rich in carotenoids (sweet potatoes) can give you a healthier, more attractive, and more radiant glow.

Shiitake Mushrooms

Why you should eat them:

Eating shiitake mushrooms will increase your body’s copper level. And copper improves how you produce skin and hair pigmentation.

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The details: Get more copper in your diet. The Journal of Biological Trace Elemental Research found those with premature graying had significantly lower copper levels. Your body needs copper to produce pigment for your skin and hair. Shiitake mushrooms are one of the best food sources of copper. Just a half cup gives you 71% of your recommended daily intake of copper.

Spa Water

Why you should drink it:

Spa water is perfect for eliminating dehydration, which causes a whole bunch of problems, like inflammation that can result in dark under eye circles.

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The details: Puffy, dark circles under your the eyes can be a sign of lack of sleep, but it can also mean something else: that you’re dehydrated. Salty foods, exercise, alcohol, and just not drinking enough water can create inflammation, which results in raccoon eyes. Start drinking detox waters by cutting up some citrus fruits, soak them in a pitcher of ice water, and drink it up.

Natto

Why you should eat it:

Natta, the Japanese dish, improves cardiovascular and bone health, as well as improving skin elasticity, which prevents wrinkles.

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The details: Natto is a Japanese dish that’s made by boiling and fermenting soybeans with bacteria for the purpose of increasing the beans’ nutritional value. Natto has the highest dietary source of vitamin K2, which is important for cardiovascular and bone health. It also promotes skin elasticity to help prevent wrinkles.

Next, food that improves fertility!

Foods for Fertility

If you or someone you know is looking to get pregnant, these are foods that have been shown to improve fertility and thus increase the chances of getting that bun in the oven. And we all know how difficult it can be for many women.

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Eating the right foods can support reproductive health, boost your mood, and increase your libido so you can focus on the more important things.

Grass-Fed Beef

Why you should eat it:

Eating healthy beef can eliminate anemia, which creates low energy, feelings of exhaustion, weakness, and irritability.

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The details: One of the main causes of fatigue in women is iron deficiency, also called anemia. It’s usually caused by a loss of iron in the blood due to heavy menstruation or pregnancy. Grass-fed beef is the perfect solution (if you’re not a vegetarian, of course). It provides your body with “heme iron,” the form of iron that’s more easily absorbed. Non-heme iron is the kind found in spinach or iron-enriched foods. Grass-fed beef also has more omega-3 fatty acids and up to ten times the amount of immunity-boosting vitamin E.

Greek Yogurt

Why you should eat it:

Greek yogurt does wonders for your digestive health, as well as urinary and vaginal health.

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The details: Greek yogurt is rich in probiotics, which means it’s perfect for your gut and overall digestive health. Probiotics are particularly important for a woman’s urinary and vaginal health because probiotics are good bacteria that live in our intestines. They play an essential role in your mood, weight maintenance, and balancing our immune systems.

Nettle

Why you should eat it:

Eating nettle can increase your iron levels (and decrease anemia), battle seasonal allergies, and prevent UTIs. You can make nettle tea by adding one tablespoon of dried nettle herb to water, and steep for at least 30 minutes.

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The details: Nettle is more than just a weed. Stinging nettles are a rich plant-based source of iron and folic acid. A study from 2013 found that its painkilling properties can benefit anemia (low iron) as well as seasonal allergies and UTIs. Nettle also has vitamin K, which helps blood clots.

Cranberry Juice

Why you should eat it:

Drinking cranberry juice, or taking cranberry pills, substantially reduces the risk of getting a urinary tract infection.

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The details: Around 60% of women will experience a UTI over their lifetimes. According to a study from the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, women who took a cranberry juice pill (the same as two 8-ounce servings of cranberry juice) for 6 weeks after gynecological surgery, the rate of UTI occurrence dropped by half.

Oysters

Why you should eat it:

Eating oysters doesn’t have to be seen as something fancy and rarely done. Oysters, in line with their reputation, actually do boost libido.

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The details: Oysters are full of zinc, and women with higher levels of zinc in their bodies have been shown to have a higher libido than those with lower levels. Just six oysters on the half shell will give you 33 mg of zinc, which is over two times the 14 mg RDA for adult women.

Lentils

Why you should eat it:

Lentils can help diminish PMS symptoms like hunger, mood swings, and water retention. They’re also full of fiber, which will keep you fuller for longer.

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The details: Lentils are high in magnesium, the mineral that helps the body flush out water and boost serotonin level. Serotonin keeps your mood stable and your appetite in check. Lentils are rich in fiber so you can lower your cholesterol as well as your hunger.

Ginger

Why you should eat it:

For the pregnant ladies – ginger does wonders for fighting nausea and morning sickness (or shall I say all day sickness!).

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The details: A queasy stomach can be pregnancy-related morning sickness or simply due to an upcoming deadline. Either way, ginger does the job. A review from The Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology concluded that ginger was an effective treatment for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

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