Essential foods women should eat came to my mind because, as Women, our bodies go through a lot of hormonal changes.
With most hormonal changes relating to menstruation, giving birth, stress, and menopause, we need a lot of nutrients for the body to continue flourishing.
Since we are all built differently and are at different stages in life, your nutritional foods are unique and should be centered on your needs. But we have so many diet supplements out there on the market, most of which are not regulated, making it hard to know what really works for your body and what doesn’t.
Suppose you need to increase your energy, control your Pre- Menstrual Symptoms, stay healthy during pregnancy, or increase fertility.
In that case, the best thing is to eat natural foods rich in nutrients that boost your health.
I am not a nutritionist or a doctor, but here are some of the beneficial and essential foods women should eat.
1. Foods Rich in Iron
Do you ever wonder why you feel more tired, headache, sometimes dizzy and weak during menstruation?
It is because most of the Iron is stored in red blood cells, and during this time, your body is losing a lot of Iron, mostly if you have a heavy or prolonged flow.
Foods Rich in Iron includes Red meat, pumpkin seeds, Shellfish, Broccoli, chicken or beef liver, and beans. You can find more sources on webmd.
Why you need Iron:
- Converts food into energy and boosts the immune system.
- Iron is beneficial & essentials during pregnancy to keep up with the amount of blood that develops your growing baby.
Probiotics are live bacteria that are good for your digestive system.
Foods like yogurt, cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, buttermilk, and fermented pickles are rich in these bacteria can provide several benefits for women’s gut and vaginal health.
This article from Cleveland Clinic explains how probiotics work, in short, harmful bacteria make you sick while the Good bacteria found in probiotics fight off the harmful bacteria to restore the balance within your body.
Benefits of Probiotics include are not limited to:
- Preventing yeast infections
- Probiotics may help people with irritable bowel syndrome
- Boosting your body’s immune system
3. Foods Rich in Iodine
Did you know that Iodine regulates levels of the thyroid hormone that causes women to ovulate?
Yes, it does!! It is beneficial, and an essential mineral because low levels or the lack of the thyroid hormone can lead to infertility.
You can find Iodine in Iodized salt, white bread, cheddar cheese; seaweed, shrimp, and other seafood are generally rich in Iodine.
Why is Iodine in foods essential for women:
- Prevents weight gain by increasing your metabolism and calorie burn
- Controls and balances estrogen production in women
- Prevents urinary tract infections
For more information about the benefits of Iodine, please visit Mother Earth labs.
Collagen is one of the proteins in the body that keeps your skin elastic.
The body naturally starts reducing collagen production; the older you get.
In women, collagen production lowers after menopause, leading to wrinkles, which is why it’s one of the beneficial and essential foods that women should eat and need to include in their diet.
Collagen is broken down in different types that connect your skin, hair, nails, and bones.
According to Allina Health, the best way to support collagen intake is by eating plant-based foods like vegetables, seeds, legumes, and beans.
To increase collagen, some of the essential foods women should eat include; all berries ( strawberries, blueberries, cranberries) and drinking lots of water.
Fish skin is another source of collagen because it contains high levels of Type I collagen that supports beautiful skin.
Some benefits of collagen:
- Minimizes skin elasticity and wrinkles.
- Slows hair loss
- Prevents Arthritis and improves Muscle function
In addition to eating collagen-rich foods, reducing the use of tobacco and sun exposure for more extended periods helps to protect your collagen levels.
You have probably heard Calcium mentioned almost at every dentist visit. This is another beneficial nutrient women need because it supports bone health, especially since women have thinner bones.
The body needs Calcium for healthy bones, teeth, and the heart muscles to work efficiently. Daisy Whitbread, MScN states that sources of Calcium include; cheese, milk, yogurt, or any dairy products which are the best sources of Calcium.
Other essential foods women should eat for Calcium are broccoli, kale, beans, clams, sardines, Okra, among other foods.
Why do women need Calcium?
- Your bones and teeth need regular Calcium consumption to be stronger.
- Calcium helps with your heart muscles to function normally.
- Studies have concluded that Calcium, in some cases, decreases the risk of developing high blood pressure.
Also, try to be physically active in addition to eating good Calcium sources to improve your muscle health.
6. Vitamin D
There have been cases where Vitamin D protects against diseases like colon cancer and heart disease as explained by Lisa Esposito and Deborah Kotz in this article.
The sun is the best source of vitamin D, especially for dark-skinned people who need six times more sun.
Due to the melanin found in dark complexions that does not absorb as much UV rays as it should, it’s advisable to spend a few times a week under the sun.
However, “Allow 10 to 15 minutes or so of unprotected sun exposure to your arms, legs, abdomen, and back” before applying the sunscreen according to a health article in USnews.
Salmon is one of the Essential foods women should eat because they are excellent sources of vitamin D. Mushrooms, margarine, hard-boiled eggs, milk, and orange juice are also some of the Vitamin D sources.
There is also options for vegetarians like fortified cereal, and almond milk.
Some Key Points:
These are some of the beneficial and essential foods women should eat;
- Vitamin D
Your health is essential. Maintain a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy, fiber, and leafy greens that provide energy and help your body run efficiently.
Before integrating these foods into your meal plan, consult with your doctor to get an overall health status, and find out what is suitable for your body.
If you have trouble getting enough nutrition from food, you may need supplements although doctors strongly suggest getting nutrients from natural sources because supplements are not regulated, and the quality is not guaranteed.