When it comes to food it seems like the more we find out the less we know. One day we hear a food is good for us then another study says maybe not. It gets even more confusing when you factor in the unique needs we have as women (though, they did get the dark chocolate and red wine thing right!) Even though it's frustrating we still have to do everything we can to remain healthy. I came across an article on WebMD.com that offered up 6 "super foods" that will help women stay healthy and strong. Funny thing is these foods have always been around and we are probably eating some of them now.
The author, Colette Bouchez, and her medical experts* did a great job of not only pointing out the specific benefits of each food but also telling us how many servings we need. So here is an excerpted version of her list:
Super Food # 1: Plain Low-fat yogurt
Goal: 3 to 5 servings a week
What it does: May decrease the risk of breast cancer, very strong evidence it can reduce problems associated with irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory digestive tract disorders, can help reduce the risk of stomach ulcers and vaginal infections and it's loaded with bone-healthy calcium.
Super Food # 2: Fatty fish -- like salmon, sardines, and mackerel
Goal: 2 to 3 servings every week
What it does: Protect against heart disease, stroke, hypertension, depression, joint pain, and a number of illnesses linked to inflammation, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis; possibly offers some protection against Alzheimer's disease.
Super Food # 3: Beans
Goal: 3 to 4 servings every week
What it does: Protective effects against heart disease, breast cancer, may also play a role in stabilizing female hormones. In research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, doctors found a relationship between a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and a higher intake of legumes. Last but not least, if you are in your reproductive years, beans can give you a steady supply of folic acid.
Super Food # 4: Tomatoes (or watermelon, red grapefruit, red navel oranges)
Goal: 3 to 5 servings each week
What it does: Protective effects against prostate cancer, breast cancer, heart disease and protection against UV damage from the sun.
Super Food # 5: Vitamin D fortified low fat milk or orange juice
Goal: At least 400 IUs of vitamin D daily
What it does: Helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis,may reduce the risk of diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and tumors of the breast, colon, and ovary.
Super Food # 6: Berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries)
Goal: 3 to 4 servings every week
What It Does: May decrease the risk of several cancers, including those in the breast and gastrointestinal tract, high in vitamin C and folic acid, protects the heart but also may protect against skin aging. Cranberries may help reduce the risk of urinary tract infections in women, while the nutrient, lutein found in all the berries, can help protect vision.
So there it is. We are familiar with these foods and we already knew they are good for us (maybe we didn't know how good!) The key is to get enough of each one - each week. The benefits are incredible so let's make an effort to get more "super foods" in our diets!
*SOURCES: Elizabeth Somer, MS, RD, author of Age-Proof Your Body, Ballantine Books. Susan Krause, MS, RD, clinical nutritionist, Hackensack University Medical Center, New Jersey. Tara Miller, MS, RD, Director of Corporate Nutrition, NYU Medical Center, New York City. Laurie Tansman, MS, RD, CDN, clinical nutritionist, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York City.