Today’s post is for the LADIES!! *Don’t worry guys, it’s nothing scary!*
For busy women of all ages, a major concern is getting enough of the foods which provide a boost of essential nutrients. Adequate amounts of folate, iron & magnesium, calcium & vitamin D, vitamin K, and omega-3 fatty acids, are especially of concern for women’s biological health, as well as being/staying properly hydrated. (Yes… THAT, AGAIN.)
In order to get the proper Recommend Daily Allowance (RDA) for nutrients, or the more modern tables for RDI (US/Aus) or DRI (Can) women should aim to eat some (or all) of the so called “Super Foods” which are readily available sources of these essential nutrients.
Folate (folic acid/folacin)
Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that’s needed for making and protecting DNA, producing new blood, forming new cells, and synthesizing protein Folate has also been tied to a decreased risk of some cancers in adults; including, specifically, breast & cervical cancers in women.
Some great sources include:
Cruciferous Green Veggies – Broccoli, Kale, Spinach, Brussels Sprouts
Black-eyed peas, Kidney Beans
Nuts – especially almonds, walnuts
Iron (ferrous oxide) & Magnesium
Iron is an essential mineral used to transport oxygen to all parts of the body. A slight deficiency in iron causes anemia (fatigue/weakness), and a chronic deficiency can lead to organ failure.
Magnesium is an essential mineral required by the body for maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, keeping a healthy immune system, maintaining heart rhythm, and building strong bones; it is also a necessary mineral for the body to uptake & process iron and calcium.
Some great sources of Iron include:
Mollusks – Clams, Oysters, Shrimp, Cuttlefish, Scallops
Animal Protein (esp livers) – beef/calf, chicken/turkey
Squash & Pumpkin (& seeds)
Nuts & Seeds – Sesame, Pinenuts, Hazelnuts, walnuts
Beans & Pulses
Cruciferous Green veggies
Along with these, Magnesium can be found in:
Dark chocolate – high cocoa content >70%
Bran – rice, wheat & oat
Brasil nuts – all nuts, but brasil nuts are highest
Dried Herbs – coriander, spearmint & chives especially
Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium is very important to ensure strong, healthy bones and teeth; especially in women, in preventing osteoporosis. Calcium is also necessary for muscle function and nerve-signal conduction.
Vitamin D helps you to absorb and use calcium.
Best Calcium & Vitamin D sources in food:
Dairy – milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese
NB: For those who are NOT dairy sensitive; often sources are “nutrient enriched” or “fortified” (*there is a LOT of speculation as to the TRUE benefit of dairy sources of calcium, but I will leave that up to you to explore – no “politics” on my blog)
Cruciferous Green Veggies (*have you noticed a pattern yet? EAT YO GREENS!)
– Okra, seaweed (wakame) and kale are exceptional sources of vitamin D
“Fatty” Fish – salmon, mackerel, trout, herring
Legumes – nuts, seeds, beans, pulses – *Soy, Soy products & Tofu are also great sources of calcium/Vit-D, again IF you are not sensitive to these products – consult your physician
Vitamin K, similar to Vitamin B, is not a single chemical substance but rather a family of chemically related substances that go by the general name of “vitamin K.” They are required in blood clotting (even a simple cut), in bone density maintenance, and are imperative in preventing atherosclerosis (arterial calcification). Vit-K has also been cited in prevention of liver and cervical cancers (*and prostate cancers, in men).
Best sources of Vitamin K:
Cruciferous Green veggies
Dark colored berries – blueberries & blackberries are the best sources
Herbs – sage, oregano, thyme
Cabbage & Romaine lettuces
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (ALA / EPA and DHA)
The Omega-3s (EPA and DHA) can boost heart health and lower triglycerides. And there are studies showing that omega-3 fatty acids may help with other conditions — rheumatoid arthritis, depression, and many morethe fatty acids responsible for brain health and function (*studies have shown EPA/DHA are responsible for prevention of depression and ADHD) & cellular maintenance, especially the myelin sheaths of nerve cells, and with regards to the reduction of inflammation throughout the body.
Best sources of Omega-3s from food:
EPA and DHA
Fish – Salmon, Tuna, Game fish, mackerel, herring
ALA – precursor to EPA & DHA
WHEW!! THAT WAS A MOUTHFUL! (*see what I did there?)
Anywho, you can see that a MAJORITY of the essential vitamins and minerals that are required by the body come from the same, overlapping, sources.
There is a REASON that they are part of the list of SUPER FOODS. Not only do they provide exceptional sources of these essential nutrients BUT they are also helpful in maintaining a healthy weight, and physique, due to their being clean foods. Most of the listed sources are also WHOLE foods – 1. Because they’re unprocessed, but 2. because they provide all the macro nutrients (fat, protein, carbs) required by the body, when combined.
Eating a diet rich in these foods, and therefore rich in these nutrients, will help you live a long(er) and health(ier) life, plus you stand a better chance of that Year-round Summerbody and potential 6-pack, we have been working on these last 6 weeks!
**Clever Segue: Have you done your sit ups & Leg challenge for today, yet?**
xo – Mia