Eggs are one of the most bioavailable source of protein in the American diet. Protein is digested more slowly than carbohydrates keeping you feeling full longer and less likely to overeat or make bad choices throughout your busy day! Egg yolks contain 2 powerful antioxidants that help keep eyes and skin healthy. Eggs are high in cholesterol, but no need to worry – dietary cholesterol has very little to no impact on your blood level cholesterol.
Nuts are a delicious source of heart healthy monounsaturated fat. These healthy fats are known to protect arteries while working to decrease your total cholesterol level and raise your ‘good’ HDL cholesterol level. They are also high in fiber and protein making them especially good regulators of insulin and blood glucose.
Popeye knew best – spinach is rich in iron, has strong anti-inflammatory properties to protect against arthritis and powerful antioxidants to protect against cancer and heart disease. Spinach is a great source of lutein which benefits eye health. It is high in vitamins A, C and K and is good for you raw (which preserves the most vitamins) or cooked (which allows the nutrients to be more easily absorbed). It is rich in nutrients whether purchased fresh, frozen or canned.
Of course, the omega-3 fats in salmon do good for everyone, but women seem to net a few unique benefits. As you know, heart disease is still the number one killer of women. Once estrogen levels begin to decrease, eating fatty fish can help keep the heart healthy. Two to three (4 oz) servings per week helps intervene in heart disease, cutting the risk of heart attacks and death from heart attacks. Fatty fish, like salmon, is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant and can relieve symptoms of arthritis, asthma, high blood pressure, and migraines. It is also known to raises HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides and guards against development of glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes.
5. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt has double the protein of most yogurts and far less sugar. Many women rarely think about how much protein they eat, but they should. Studies suggest that eating higher levels of protein (30% of calories) helps women with weight loss, muscle maintenance, and promotes healthier aging. Greek yogurt is rich in calcium which women need for healthy bones and, of course, the ‘friendly’ bacteria help keep your gut healthy.
6. Sweet potatoes
A medium-sized sweet potato (about the size of your fist) fulfills your daily requirement for vitamin A and provides 4 grams of fiber. It has only 150 calories compared to nearly 300 calories for a white potato of the same size. They are a great source of beta carotene and are linked to preventing heart disease, cataracts, strokes and numerous cancers
This grain has 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein per ¼-cup serving. In many studies, eating whole grains, such as quinoa, has been linked to protection against atherosclerosis, ischemic stroke, diabetes, insulin resistance, and obesity. If you are prone to migraines, try adding quinoa to your diet. Quinoa is a good source of magnesium, a mineral that helps relax blood vessels, preventing the constriction and rebound dilation characteristic of migraines. Quinoa is also a good source of riboflavin (also called vitamin B2) which has been shown to help reduce the frequency of attacks in migraine sufferers.
There are 3 potentially beneficial compounds in flax: plant-based omega-3 fats, fiber and disease-fighting compounds called lignans. A recent Mayo Clinic study finds 40 grams of crushed flaxseed can cut down on hot flashes, and several reports suggest flax can lower ‘bad’ or LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed per day for best results.
Avocado is full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats which help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. Avocados are also a good source of fiber and several vitamins and minerals including vitamin C and potassium. Swap that mayo on your sandwich for some guacamole today!
Loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants these fruits pack a mean punch against free radicals (those pesky compounds that have been linked to increased cancer risk), and the low sugar and high fiber content protect you from developing diabetes and heart disease.