A balanced diet is a cornerstone of health! Women should enjoy a variety of foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, low-fat dairy, and lean protein.
Focus On Whole, Plant-Based Foods
Fill most of your plate with fruits and leafy green vegetables. Include a variety of whole grains, beans, and legumes to hit your recommended daily fiber and keep your energy levels high throughout the day.
Nutrient-rich foods provide energy for women’s busy lives and help to prevent disease. A healthy daily diet includes:
- At least three one-ounce servings of whole grains such as whole-grain bread, cereal, pasta, brown rice or oats.
- Three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products including low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt or cheese.
- Five to six ounces of protein such as lean meat, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, beans or peas and nuts.
- Two cups of fruits — fresh, frozen or canned without added sugar.
- Two-and-a-half cups of colorful vegetables — fresh, frozen or canned without added salt.
Bone Up With Calcium
Women are at a greater risk than men of developing osteoporosis so it is important to get plenty of calcium to support your bone health. Women start losing bone density as soon as 30 years of age.
The best way to get more calcium is from the foods you eat. You probably already know that dairy products — such as milk, cheese, and yogurt — provide calcium.
Other foods that are high in calcium include:
- White beans
- Some fish, like sardines, salmon, perch, and rainbow trout
The Power Of Protein
A high protein diet is your key to healthy weight loss! The moment it leaves your fork, protein starts winnowing your waistline. High-protein foods take more work to digest, metabolize, and use, which means you burn more calories processing them.
Protein also takes longer to leave your stomach, so you feel full sooner and for a longer amount of time. Aim for around 130 grams per day.
Get Enough Iron
Many women don’t get enough iron in their diet. On top of that, women lose iron naturally during monthly menstruation. To boost the amount of iron in your diet, try these foods:
- Red meat
- Egg yolks
- Dark, leafy greens (spinach, collards)
- Dried fruit (prunes, raisins)
- Mollusks (oysters, clams, scallops)
- Turkey or chicken giblets
- Beans, lentils, chick peas and soybeans
Helpful tip: If you eat iron-rich foods along with foods that provide plenty of vitamin C, your body will better absorb the iron.
Cut Back On Alcohol and Caffeine
Women may not realize that they absorb alcohol differently than men, which may put them at greater risk. Women are less likely than men to develop alcohol-related problems, but when they do, they can progress more quickly.
Pound for pound, women have less H20 in their bodies than men. After a man & woman drink same amount, the woman may have a higher BAC level.
Excess caffeine consumption interferes with hormonal levels and increases calcium loss. Caffeine can also cause high blood pressure and it may contribute to miscarriage and osteoporosis. Heart palpitations, headaches, irritability, and/or aggression are all signs of a coffee-affair gone wrong.
Research supports moderate consumption of caffeine (up to 300 mg/day or three 8oz cups of coffee) for women.