August is the month that is dedicated to celebrating women. Society salute your indispensable contribution as wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, and professionals. However, your presence and activity in every area of life translates into a very demanding routine. To enable you to function on all levels, your specific nutritional requirements need to be met.
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, highlights the Top 10 Foods for a Woman:
Calcium is very important for the maintenance of strong bones, and in conjunction with specific exercises, helps to delay or reduce the effect of osteoporosis. Good choices are low-fat dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, calcium-fortified soy products, fruit juices and grains.
Note: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, as your nutritional requirements may differ from those listed above.
Due to monthly cycles, women who are premenopausal need more iron. Good sources of iron are lean beef, liver, Swiss chard spinach and tofu. Women need 12 to 15 mg of iron per day, compared to men who require less (10 to 12 mg per day).
Fruits rich in Vitamin C
These include citrus fruits, strawberries, green and red peppers, and guavas. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, and there is evidence to suggest that antioxidants lower the risk of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). Vitamin C is well known to support the immune system, and is particularly sought after in winter when colds and flu are a threat! Try to eat at least 2 to 3 servings of fruit per day. The RDA for vitamin C is 75 milligrams per day for women.
Green leafy vegetables
These vegetables include spinach, kale and bok choy. They provide important nutrients such as folate and iron. Try to eat at least three servings of vegetables each day.
Nuts are high in monounsaturated fats (which can help lower cholesterol levels), and polyunsaturated fats (which can help prevent heart disease). In addition, nuts are a good source of protein, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, selenium, folate, vitamin E and vitamin A. Nuts are high in calories, therefore only one serving per day is recommended.
Water is important for all metabolic processes in the body. It also aids digestion, and improves the appearance of the skin. Make drinking water easily accessible during the day.
Cranberries and Cranberry juice
Cranberry contains “A Type” proanthocyanidins, which have been clinically demonstrated to attach to E. Coli fimbriae, preventing the bacteria from attaching to the urinary tract or bladder wall. Many women have therefore found the consumption of cranberry products helpful in treating symptomatic UTI’s. New research also suggests that cranberries may promote cardiovascular health.
Foods rich in folate
Foods rich in folate include asparagus, oranges, fortified cereals and green leafy vegetables. Also known as vitamin B9, it is involved in important processes relating to nucleic acids. However, despite its vital role, signs of Folate deficiency are often subtle. Anemia is a late finding in folate deficiency. Some studies have concluded that folate plays a significant role in cardiac health. The RDA for folate is 400 micrograms (mcg).
Whole grains include brown rice, barley and quinoa. Evidence has consistently shown that whole grain foods substantially lower the risk of chronic diseases such as CHD, diabetes and cancer, and also play a role in body weight management and digestive health (whole grains are high in fibre). Ideally women should aim to consume 20-35g of fibre per day. Another beneficial characteristic of wholegrain foods is their low GI. Low GI foods release energy more slowly than high GI foods, staving off hunger pangs for longer periods.
Soy protein is a protein that is isolated from soybean. Processed soy protein appears in foods mainly in three forms: soy flour, soy protein isolates, and soy protein concentrates. Soybean is rich in protein, providing essential amino acids. Soy milk, tofu, soy nuts, and soy butter contain soy protein.
Information supplied by FUTURE LIFE