Do women really need to eat any differently than men? After all, we’re all human. While this is certainly true, a woman’s nutritional needs are more specific than a man’s. Pam Peeke, M.D., M.Ph., author of Fight Fat After 40 (Viking 2000) and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine explains why:
“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! Here’s a great list of foods that every woman needs to incorporate into her weekly diet to guarantee that as each year goes by, she stays as healthy and fit as she can.”
So, just because you work like a man and play even harder, your diet should be a bit more ladylike. We’ve paired some of our most nutrient – and flavour – packed recipes with each food to help you get everything you need to fuel that beautiful, wonderful, womanly body.
Look at the steps below as we begin our list of foods that every women should include in her diet.
Soy protein is found in products like tofu and soymilk to soy nut butter and cereal. Soy protein is heart healthy (helps lower “bad” cholesterol levels) and is rich in phytonutrients. Aim for up to 25 grams of soy protein per day.
Whole grains are high in fiber and therefore help stave off digestive problems that are so common in women. Try to incorporate more whole grains like brown rice, bran flakes, whole-grain breads, barley and quinoa into your diet.
The proanthocyanidins found in cranberries help prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder, thus warding off urinary tract infections (UTIs). New research also suggests that cranberries may promote cardiovascular health.
Though it’s not a food, water is important for all metabolic processes in the body. It also helps with digestion, weight loss and improves the appearance of the skin. Drinking 8 to 10, eight-ounce glasses of water each day is key, but eating foods with a high water content (like fruits and certain vegetables) will also contribute to your water intake.
This category of vegetable includes everything from kale to bok choy to darker lettuces. These vegetables provide important nutrients as well as fiber (aim for 20 to 35 grams each day) to the diet. Try to get at least three servings of vegetables each day.
These include citrus fruits, strawberries, green and red peppers, collard and mustard greens, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, kiwi, guava and parsley. In addition to contributing to overall health, fruits rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant, have recently been linked to a decreased risk of coronary heart disease. Fit two to three servings (or more) of fruit into your daily diet. The RDA for vitamin C for women is 75 milligrams a day.