The foods that will help you beat cramps, get glowing skin, rid you of wrinkles, and much more!
Most of these healthy foods might already be in your pantry—but if not, now’s the time to load up your shopping cart and supercharge your health. Since there are a lot of nutritious candidates on supermarket shelves, we’ve dug through the science to find out which ones give women that extra edge. Read on to learn about how these 50 delicious foods can be powerful allies for your health and weight loss efforts for years to come. And then double down on your efforts by avoiding these weight loss mistakes women make, too!
Get this: heart disease is the leading killer of both women and men in America. According to the CDC, one in every four female deaths is a result of heart disease. Paired with a sensible diet and consistent routine exercise, the foods below can help ward off some of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease—high blood pressure, stroke, high cholesterol, and heart disease.
Fatty fish like wild salmon, mackerel, and herring owe their super health-promoting powers to their high omega-3 content. These powerful anti-inflammatory fatty acids can help decrease your odds of dying from heart disease by more than 33 percent, help lower your risk of arthritis, and possibly make your baby smarter. To see which omega-3 fish you should be reeling in, check out our exclusive report of fish ranked for nutritional benefits.
Attention, chocoholics! Dozens of studies show that people who consume cocoa—as a hot drink or as dark chocolate—are in much better cardiovascular shape than those who don’t. One nine-year study in the journal circulation heart failure found women who ate one to two servings of high-quality chocolate per week had a 32 percent lower risk of developing heart failure than those who said no to the cocoa. Researchers attribute cocoa’s health benefits to its high concentrations of polyphenols and flavanols, anti-inflammatory compounds that help protect the heart. When you’re buying it, just make sure to pick up dark chocolate that contains 74 percent or more cocoa solids, as these are the flavanol-rich compounds.
One in four American women die of heart disease every year and 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease. Protecting your most vital organ is as simple as adding some walnuts to your diet. This heart-shaped nut is teeming with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids that can help keep you safe. One recent study found that munching on two ounces a day could significantly improve blood flow to and from the heart in just 8 weeks. Another study found that the same amount can help delay development of breast cancer and slow tumor growth in mice. Speculation is that antioxidants called phytosterols, already known cancer fighters, could be the culprit.
Nearly a third of women between 45 and 55 have high blood pressure, an illness that can lead to more serious issues like heart disease or stroke, and that number increases from 50 to 70 percent for women aged 55 to those 65 and older. It turns out, the vampire-repelling plant is both a flavor essential and a heart-disease-fighting superstar. garlic contains phytochemicals, including allicin, which a review in the Journal of Integrated Blood Pressure Control showed may decrease high blood pressure by as much as 10 points—similar to standard blood pressure medication. Garlic can also prevent the progression of heart disease by reducing the accumulation of plaque and preventing the formation of new plaque in the arteries, according to a new study in the Journal of Nutrition. The catch is that cooking destroys this beneficial compound, so you’ll have to use garlic powder, aged garlic extract, or sprouted garlic.
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the Mediterranean diet ,which includes healthy fats like olive oil, prevents about 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease in people at high cardiovascular risk. Olive oil, in particular, is loaded with monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), which lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise “good” HDL cholesterol, which helps in lowering your risk of heart disease.
One of the best foods women should be eating is one you probably already are: the apple. Metabolic syndrome—a syndrome that refers to a cluster of conditions like insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol—is the main contributor to heart disease, the leading killer of American women. While women who eat a diet rich in blood-sugar-spiking-refined carbs or those who are overweight are most susceptible to metabolic syndrome, even healthy postmenopausal women are also at risk. The Iowa Women’s Health Study, which has been tracking 34,000 women for nearly 20 years, found that apples are one of three foods most effective at reducing the risk of death from coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease among women, as these women had less abdominal fat and lower blood pressure than their peers who didn’t consume apples.
High cholesterol can lead to the buildup of plaque in artery walls. Left untreated, this buildup can lead to heart attack and stroke, resulting in 2 of the top 5 leading causes of death in American women. Luckily, it’s not too difficult to combat. Simply eating a healthy diet that includes soluble fiber-rich whole grains, like oatmeal, can help. oatmeal can also protect you from heart disease. A Harvard study of more than 68,000 women found that those who ate the most fiber daily were 23 percent less likely to develop heart disease than were those who consumed the least. Thanks to the breakfast staple’s high fiber content, it can also slash the odds of developing type 2 diabetes by a whopping 61 percent! The superstar nutrient also helps stabilize blood sugar, which wards off diet-derailing hunger and dangerous dips in glucose.
Unlike animal sources of protein, beans are free of unhealthy fats. That might be the very reason one study found that people who consumed legumes at least four times a week had a 22 percent lower risk of heart disease compared with those who consumed them less than once a week. Equally as encouraging results were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. A scientific review of 26 clinical trials discovered that eating a 3/4 of a cup of beans daily could reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood by 5 percent.
According to the Alzheimer's association Alzheimer’s disease—a neurodegenerative disorder that is the most common type of dementia—is currently the fifth leading cause of death in females, and disproportionately affects women more than men. In fact, almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women, but many experts attribute the disparity to the fact that women often live longer than men, and old age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s. Experts suspect other risk factors to be related to the decrease in consumption of antioxidant-rich foods, which typically scavenge cell-damaging free radicals which may lead to cognitive decline. Fit these foods into your diet to boost your brainpower and nourish your noggin for a longer, more productive life, and then check outwitch you should avoid .
Shrimp are the most potent source of an essential and hard-to-get nutrient called choline. This neurotransmitter building block is necessary for the structure and function of all cells, and a deficiency in this compound has been linked to neurological disorders and decreased cognitive function. Not only does it act as brain food, but it can also help lower your risk of breast cancer.
Next to heart disease, cancer is the second highest killer of American women. Breast cancer, specifically, is the most common, followed by lung. While no single food can guarantee to keep you cancer-free, research has clearly shown that cancer prevention and diet go hand in hand. And the following foods are nutritional standouts when it comes to fighting cancer risk.
With juggling time between work, kids, and yourself, it’s no wonder women are more prone than men to experience anxiety and depression, with nearly 12 million women being affected by a depressive disorder every year. When your stress levels are high, you also put your immune system at risk, and that’s besides the fact that about 75 percent of people who live with autoimmune diseases are women, according to the American Autoimmune Related Aiseases Association.The following foods will tackle your stress hormones that wreak havoc on your immune system (and your waist), and help alleviate issues tied to autoimmune disorders.
Looking our best is all in a day’s work for women. That’s because when we look good, we feel good, and studies have even shown we perform better at our jobs. But why should you shell out your hard-earned cash on serums and fancy lotions when you can keep your skin looking healthy, resilient, and radiant by just eating these foods? Whether you need to treat acne, ward off premature aging, reduce the appearance wrinkles, get healthy hair, or fight back against another pesky skin condition, the right diet can be a valuable aid. Eat these foods to nourish your hair and skin to get that healty glow you’re after.
If you’re in the phase of looking to get that bun in the oven, there are a few foods you can add to your diet to get things moving and prepare your body for another buddy. Noshing on the right foods can support vaginal health, boost mood, and increase libido so you can focus on the more important things.
There’s no greater way to foster a healthy baby than by the foods you eat before and during your pregnancy. Studies show that a balanced diet—like the one detailed in our new book,Eat this.Not that !When you're Expencting leads to fewer complications, easier deliveries, fewer birth defects, and happier, fitter babies after they’re born. (That’s right. What you consume today can dictate what they want to eat tomorrow, and even how often they get sick.) Here are just a few of the foods you should be fitting into your diet when you’re carrying an extra passenger. And check out Eat this.Not that !When you're Expencting for our doctor-approved trimester-by-trimester eating plan!
Cramps, mood swings, bloating, and persistent fatigue due to a lack of sleep are just a few of the symptoms every woman will go through during menopause—and they’re not much fun. Studies link the debilitating symptoms of menopause to the decline in levels of estrogen as your ovaries stop producing hormones. These foods have been found to lessen some of these severe symptoms to help you age gracefully.