Essential Foods for Women
Power foods and smart snacks for every lifestage
Whether you’re trying to conceive, already pregnant, or a busy mom, these foods will boost your energy, prevent disease, and help you look—and feel—years younger.
Fad diets come and go, but there are certain foods that stand the nutritional test of time. You simply can’t go wrong fueling your body with these “power” foods:
- Milk: Just one 8-ounce glass of skim or low-fat milk supplies one-third of your daily requirement of calcium, which is vital to strong bones and teeth. A diet rich in calcium can cut your risk of hypertension, colon cancer, and breast cancer, as well as ease PMS. Milk is a valuable source of vitamin D, vitamin A, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B12, says Doreen Chin Pratt, RD, director of nutrition services at Women and Infants Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. Drinking the white stuff also sends a healthy message to your kids: In a 2004 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study, researchers found that mothers who drink milk regularly have daughters who do the same—and who consume less nutrient-empty soda.
- Broccoli: It’s low-cal and loaded with vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, folate, and fiber—all of which can help reduce your risk of heart disease and certain kinds of cancers. Enjoy it raw or lightly steamed.
- Bananas: At about 100 calories each, bananas are good source of fiber and vitamins B6 and C. They’re also loaded with potassium—a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure and is essential to muscle function. Eat one after a workout (when potassium levels are at their lowest), mix into smoothies, or add to your cereal for an all-day energy boost.
- Orange Juice: A stellar source of vitamin C (just one 8-ounce glass supplies 120 percent of your daily requirement), orange juice is also full of folate—which helps prevent birth defects and colon cancer—and potassium. Opt for the calcium-fortified kind to benefit your bones.
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