Celebrate National Women’s Health Week by eating better with foods and recipes that are especially nutritious for women!
This post was written by Nutritioulicious contributor Tiana Yom, MPH, CHES
This week we are celebrating National Women’s Health Week (#NWHW), which takes place every year in May with the goal to empower women to make their health a priority. Women of all ages need to take steps for better health, which include eating healthy, checking your blood pressure, limiting alcohol use, and staying active. And let’s not forget about mental health, which is improved by getting enough sleep and managing stress in a productive way.
To help women everywhere get started with eating better for their health, here are 5 foods that are especially nutritious – and delicious – for women.
Fatty fish like salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to promote a healthy heart and to protect against joint pain and other inflammatory diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Omega-3s have also been shown to help with treatment of depression, especially postpartum. Salmon is an excellent source of high-quality protein, potassium, selenium and vitamin B12.
Yogurt is a nutrient-dense food that contains calcium, vitamin D, protein, and potassium. Some yogurts like the Greek varieties are higher in protein and therefore more satiating. Probiotics in yogurt and other fermented foods are beneficial bacteria that boost the immune system and promote a healthy digestive tract. Many studies show an association between consumption of dairy products and reduced risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease. Yogurt has also been shown to help reduce the risk of stomach ulcers and vaginal infections.
The cranberry is perhaps best known for its role in preventing UTIs, especially for those with recurrent infections. And now research is showing that cranberries may reduce the risk of stomach ulcers for similar reasons. The high level of antioxidants called proanthocyanidins (PACs) in cranberries helps reduce the adhesion of certain bacteria to places they shouldn’t be like urinary tract walls. Cranberries also contain other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and potassium, that may protect against heart disease and cancer.
Beans are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc, and B vitamins including folate. Eating beans regularly may help decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and help with weight management. Many studies have also shown a protective effect of beans against cancer, including breast cancer.
Tomatoes are a significant source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been shown to protect against cancer, heart disease, and skin damage due to UV light. Some research also shows a beneficial effect of tomatoes on oxidative stress in diabetic patients. To get the most lycopene benefit from tomatoes, it is best to cook them.
For more information about National Women’s Health Week and to get health recommendations for your age group, visit NWHW Health at Every Age.
What foods do you eat to support and protect your health?