12 Healthiest Foods For Women And Why You Need Them

Women’s health depends upon a lot of different factors. Between hormones, our busy lifestyles, and the stressful demands placed upon us by society, it is easy to fall into unhealthy habits.

Overworking, over-exercising, and neglecting to practice self-care are just a few ways that women can compromise their health, and by extension, their lives.

Luckily, the road to a healthy and balanced life has a simple beginning: the right diet. The following are the twelve healthiest foods for women with a brief explanation of just why we need them.

1. Eggs: Filled with tons of nutrients and vitamins, egg yolks are one of the best foods for women.

Eggs contain plenty of essential nutrients that are often hard to fit into an everyday diet. These include choline, a nutrient that has been linked to low rates of breast cancer, and antioxidants that slow down aging and may prevent cataracts and other problems such as macular degeneration.

Despite claims that eggs can lead to heart disease, they’re actually incredibly healthy and should be added to your diet at least twice a week.

If you do have heart disease or a heightened risk for the condition, cut back on the egg yolks and focus more on egg whites to get your weekly dosage.

2. Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt can be a healthy and delicious addition to breakfast, eaten as a snack, or saved for dessert. This food is great source of calcium and also contains a large amount of immunity boosting bacteria.

Women need these nutrients to help keep them regular, as well as, to promote strong bones and healthy teeth. In comparison to regular yogurt, Greek yogurt has twice the protein, which most women don’t have enough of in their diets. 

3. Salmon: A great source of Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, salmon is one of the best foods to add to your diet. The fatty acids present in salmon offer a variety of health benefits, such as, prevention of heart disease, smoothing and softening skin, aiding weight loss, and even boosting your mood.

For women suffering from arthritis pain, salmon is also known to reduce the effects of this troublesome condition. Adding salmon to your diet at least once or twice a week could work wonders on your health.

4. Lean Beef: This alternative to fatty red meat is one of the easiest ways to get a good source of iron in your diet. Many women suffer from anemia, which is a condition brought on by low iron levels.

Especially heavy menstrual cycles can contribute to anemia and general low iron levels, but adding at least one ounce of beef a day can help the body absorb iron from different sources. 

5. Nuts: Reduce your risk of developing heart disease or diabetes by adding 1½ ounces of tree nuts to your everyday diet. Various nuts contain different nutrients and vitamins that are vital to maintaining a healthy body.

For example, hazelnuts include arginine, which is, an essential amino acid that may be able to help lower blood pressure. Similarly, a simple ounce of almonds contains a good amount of heart-healthy polyphenols, similar to the amount present in a half cup of green tea.

6. Edamame and Tofu: These soy foods are chocked full of vitamins and nutrients. When you add edamame, tofu, soy milk, and other foods can help fight heart disease. When eaten in place of fatty cheeses, meats, and similar foods, soy foods can help cut your saturated fat intake in half.

Soy foods also contain heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats, lots of fiber, and essential vitamins. The isoflavones, or plant estrogens, present in edamame and tofu may also help prevent breast cancer.

7. Avocado: Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fats, but they also contain tons of other nutrients and vitamins as well. Some studies have shown that adding these fruits to salads and salsa actually improved the absorption of plant compounds known as carotenoids that have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions.

These delicious fruits are also a great source of good fats, heart-protecting compounds, soluble fibers, vitamin E, potassium, and much more.

8. Olive Oil: Olive oil contains high levels of monounsaturated fats (MUFAS) which promote heart health by lowering the bad cholesterol in the body and raising the good HDL cholesterol. High in antioxidants which help slow aging and reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic conditions, olive oil is a deliciously healthy addition to all kinds of dishes.

9. Spinach: This super vegetable contains high amounts of lutein, vitamins A, C, and B, iron, fiber and more. This food has been shown to guard against age-related macular degeneration, prevent or reduce the risk of heart attacks, and keep cholesterol clear from artery walls.

Add spinach to your salads, sandwiches, and a bevy of other breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes.

10. Tomatoes: Tomatoes contain an antioxidant known as lycopene which may protect against heart disease and breast cancer. When eaten fresh, tomatoes retain the vitamins and nutrients needed to maintain healthy systems. Add olive oil to these veggies for an even tastier meal.

11. Sweet Potatoes: Filled with  the essential nutrient Vitamin A, sweet potatoes help protect eyes, skin, and the linings of the body’s intestinal, urinary, and respiratory tracts. This food contains beta-carotene, which is a nutrient that the body converts into Vitamin A.

12. Lychee: This is one of the few fruits that contains extremely high levels of heart healthy polyphenols. The compounds present in this one-of-a-kind fruit may be able to prevent degenerative diseases such as cancer and other chronic conditions. This fruit can be added to all kinds of dishes for a delectable grape flavor.

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Achieving Fitness Over 40 For Women

Women’s fitness over 40

Without a doubt women’s fitness over 40 is a topic of discussion in most doctor’s offices, women’s groups and between friends.  You may not know it but it really is.  But how you ask?  You’re in those groups, you’re on the phone with your friends and you visit your doctor.  You don’t hear them talking about a woman’s fitness over age 40.

But they are, in subtle ways.  Women may complain about not being able to climb stairs any longer because of painful knees.  You may hear talk of a friend with heart disease or high cholesterol.  An acquaintance may have be diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure.

How is this related?  Because fitness over 40 programs and routines will help to decrease your risk of stress and age related illnesses.  Increased physical fitness will help to create the muscle strength to support joints and decrease pain related to arthritis.

Unfortunately 60% of women in the US don’t get the recommended amount of activity.  And 25% aren’t physically active at all.  These statistics are slowly raising the number of women who suffer from stress related diseases such as heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. 

Women’s fitness over 40 programs don’t begin in the gym however.  Women must first come to terms with the idea that physical fitness doesn’t mean that you are pumping iron, becoming Mr. Universe or training for the Olympics.  Physical activity is only that activity that raises your heart rate and breathing for 30 minutes.  That may mean walking quickly for 30 minutes in the neighborhood, jogging, biking with the children, rowing, treadmill in front of the television, bouncing on an exercise ball or using a trampoline in the house.  The goal is to improve your physical fitness and health – not train for the triathlon.

The first real step for a women’s fitness program, is to address lifestyle changes that might impact your ability to start a program.  Things like diet, nutrition, and habits.  One of the most dangerous habits is smoking.  Smoking will negatively impact your ability to use your lungs, you do damage on the cellular level to your lungs and the CDC reports that 295 out of every 100,000 deaths are attributable to smoking damage.

Another step in your women’s fitness over 40 program is to incorporate more fruit, vegetables and whole grains into your diet.  If you have trouble imagining how to do that you may benefit from a couple of consultations with a dietitian who can help you slowly ease into a healthier diet.  Five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables, 8-10 glasses of water and decreasing the amount of white flour in your daily diet will go a long way to improving the way that you eat.

You may not know it but your teeth also play an important part in your program.  With some simple flossing and brushing you significantly reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes that have been strongly linked to the bacteria that grow within your mouth.  In a retrospective study researchers found that a statistically significant number of patients who suffered a stroke also had a mouth or tooth infection or high build up of plaque in their mouths.  Flossing and brushing just may save your life!

What you may have thought of as the most important piece of the women’s fitness over 40 program, the exercise routine, is actually the icing on the cake.  Exercise is important but it is the roof over the house that keeps you dry.  Exercise depends upon the structure of nutrition, diet, and daily habits to improve your health.

Your women’s fitness program can consist of cardiovascular and strength training.  Cardiovascular training can include biking, jogging, walking, swimming, trampoline, exercise ball or jump roping.  And this program need not be consistently the same thing.  That’s only boring.  Mix the exercise up a bit and do it with friends.  You’ll have more fun and you’ll stick with it longer.

The strength training aspect of a program should never be performed on consecutive days.  In other words, if you do it on Monday don’t do it again until Wednesday.  Two or three days a week, strength training can be done at home with hand weights and a DVD program or at the gym.  The choice is yours and how it fits your lifestyle.  Incorporating strength training will decrease your risk of osteoporosis, improve the support of your joints and give you a more shapely figure.
RESOURCES
US News: Smart Fitness for Grown-ups: a 10-week workout routine
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/diet-fitness/articles/2009/04/10/smart-fitness-for-grown-ups-a-10-week-workout-routine

AskMen: Top 10 Exercises for Guys over 40
http://www.askmen.com/top_10/fitness/top-10-exercises-for-guys-over-40.html

Vanderbit University: 12 Week Do-It-Yourself Fitness Program
http://healthandwellness.vanderbilt.edu/files/hpDIYFitness.pdf
BodyBuilding: Beginners over 40 workout
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/over_40_beginner_program.htm
Prevention: The Essential Over 40 Workout
http://www.prevention.com/fitness/strength-training/lose-weight-essential-over-40-workout

 

ShapeFit: Fitness over 40 – 10 Tips to Get in Shape and Stay Fit As You Get Older
http://www.shapefit.com/fitness-over-40-10-tips.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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