“You are what you eat,” someone rightly said. But did you know that women and men have different requirements? Yes, a woman’s nutritional needs are more specific than a man’s.
Pam Peeke, author of Fight Fat After 40 and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine says, “Women are special. They have unique nutritional requirements to keep them energised and focused, especially as they age. And that means over the age of 30! not 20.”
Here is a list of foods that every woman needs to incorporate into her weekly diet to ensure that she stays as healthy and fit as she can
Green leafy vegetables
These vegetables provide important nutrients as well as fibre (aim for 20 to 35 grams each day) to the diet. Try to get at least three servings of vegetables each day.
Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts pack a serious punch against cancer. A 2007 Chinese study found that the compound found in Broccoli and it’s cousins, sulforaphane may slow down the spread of breast cancer.
They are a good source of protein, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, selenium, folate, vitamin E and vitamin A. But, you need to limit your intake as they pack a lot of calories.
They are a staple in the heart - healthy Mediterranean diet. Mild and versatile, the nuts work well in sweet and savoury dishes. They play a role in improving stomach problems, like irritable bowel disorders and diarrhoea, and boosting calcium absorption.
Spice up your meals with turmeric. Most often found in yellow curry dishes, turmeric is a member of the ginger family. Curcumin, a plant nutrient that gives turmeric its deep olden hue, has long been used in Eastern medicine to treat infections and help speed wound healing. According to Indian researchers, the body can absorb only a fraction of the curcumin we eat, but adding black pepper may boost our system’s ability to use it by 2,000 per cent.
They include brown rice, bran flakes, whole-grain breads, barley and quinoa which are high in fibre and therefore help stave off digestive problems that are so common in women.
Though it’s not a food, water is important for all metabolic processes in the body. It helps with digestion, weight loss and improves the appearance of the skin.
It is heart healthy (helps lower “bad” cholesterol levels) and is rich in phytonutrients. Aim for up to 25 grams of soy protein per day.