Healthy eating can help manage weight and lower health care and insurance costs. Eating a healthy diet can also lower the risk of many chronic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes.
Diabetes is a medical condition that affects many Americans but has practical implications as well. Driving and car insurance is one example that can be impacted by diabetes. In fact, car insurance for diabetics (dmii insurance) can be costly and difficult to obtain.
From a physical health standpoint, women have unique health and nutritional needs. It is very important for women to take care of their hearts, bones, muscles, and keep their skin and hair healthy. Healthy eating is also important to manage weight, boost metabolism, and increase energy levels.
Women Commonly Lack Nutrients
Women may be lacking in nutrients like iron, protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Iron is needed for carrying oxygen in the red blood cells as part of hemoglobin. Women may not eat as many iron-rich foods, and women lose iron monthly from their menstrual cycles. Iron-deficiency anemia is more common in women.
Protein is important for growth and repair of body tissues, including muscles and connective tissue. Women on a low-calorie diet or those who do not eat a lot of meat or animal products may be lacking in protein.
Calcium is vital for strong bones. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and regulates blood calcium levels. It is also important for immunity and may help prevent chronic diseases.
A heart-healthy diet is also important for women. As women reach middle age and estrogen levels start to decrease, the risk for heart disease increases. Estrogen is heart-protective, so a heart-healthy diet is critical for women nearing menopause.
It is also not a bad idea to take a women’s daily multivitamin. It is always best to get your nutrients from food, but it is also difficult to eat a diet that contains all the nutrients we need for good health. A daily multivitamin is just extra insurance that you are getting your vitamins and minerals.
The following list includes twelve healthy foods that all women should be eating on a regular basis. These foods are naturally low in sugar, sodium, and calories. They are also minimally processed, low in calories, and high in many nutrients for good health.
1. Soy-based Foods
Soy-based foods like tofu and tempeh are high in protein, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Tempeh is also a probiotic that can help improve the health of your gastrointestinal tract by helping to flourish the good bacteria that live there.
If you have not heard of or tried tempeh, it’s a great addition to your grocery list. It can be roasted in the oven or used in a sauteed dish. It holds its shape well and takes on the flavor of whatever sauce you are using.
Fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and mahi mahi are great sources of heart-healthy fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids. Fish is high in protein, low in calories, and contains other vitamins and minerals for good health.
The American Heart Association recommends two servings of fish per week to get the healthy omega-3 fatty acids needed for heart, brain, and joint health. A serving is about three to four ounces and can come from a variety of different kinds of fish.
Berries are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The antioxidants in berries help protect cells from oxidative damage and can lower risk for many chronic diseases.
Berries like blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are convenient and easy to prepare. They are great for snacks, added to yogurt or oatmeal, or for dessert instead of cake or cookies.
Avocado toast didn’t become trendy for no reason. Avocados are tasty and high in heart-healthy fats, potassium, fiber, folate, and vitamin K. There are a number of different ways you can use avocado, and there are a variety of avocado recipes that are quick and easy to prepare.
Quinoa is a great addition to women’s diets because it contains protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Quinoa is a great replacement for rice because it is flavorful, nutritious, and quick to prepare. Quinoa can be eaten plain or mixed with other vegetables for a yummy side dish.
Quinoa is a unique food because it is a complete protein.
6. Dairy Products
Cow’s milk, yogurt, cheese, and plant-based milk are all good sources of calcium. If you do not consume cow’s milk or other products made from cow’s milk, then you should replace that with plant-based alternatives.
Yogurt is a probiotic that contains live microorganisms that help improve the health of your gastrointestinal tract. This microbiome of healthy bacteria is also linked to many other health benefits throughout the body.
Some women may also need a calcium supplement if they are not getting enough calcium in their diet. Talk with your health care provider to determine if a calcium supplement would help meet your nutritional needs.
Eggs are a great source of many nutrients. Eggs have a bad reputation because they are high in cholesterol, but cholesterol in foods does not translate very well into blood cholesterol levels. Blood cholesterol is more affected by the fats in your diet.
Eggs are healthy because they have protein, iron, antioxidants, and many vitamins and minerals.
Prebiotics help feed the healthy bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract, which helps those bacteria flourish. Prebiotics include whole grains, onions, garlic, bananas, asparagus, and apples.
Research illustrates the importance of prebiotics in our diet because of their impact on the heart of your microbiome and gut.
9. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are vegetables that pack a lot of nutrients with very few calories. Examples of leafy greens include spinach, kale, mustard greens, and collard greens.
An easy way to get your leafy greens is to add some spinach or kale to a smoothie or protein shake, substitute spinach for iceberg or romaine lettuce in a wrap or salad, or snack on kale chips.
Nuts are another excellent food that women can eat for good health. Walnuts, pistachios, almonds, and cashews are a few of the nut options. Nuts are high in heart-healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein.
Walnuts are high in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for heart health, brain health, and to reduce inflammation in the body.
11. Sweet Potatoes
This orange vegetable is super high in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A by the body. Sweet potatoes also contain antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B6.
12. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are inexpensive and can be added to numerous recipes. Chia has iron, potassium, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber. Chia seeds absorb water, so they work great in yogurt, pudding, oatmeal, or smoothies.
An added benefit of chia seeds is that they contain tryptophan, which is an amino acid. It is a precursor to serotonin, which is the feel-good and calming neurotransmitter.
Eating Healthy Means Eating Balanced
The key to eating a healthy diet is to eat a balanced, varied diet. There are many different kinds of healthy foods that are necessary for women to eat. Pick your favorites, and find the best recipe that works for you!