Essential Foods for Women
Power foods and smart snacks for every lifestage
- Yogurt: A good source of bone-strengthening calcium (an eight-ounce carton contains about 35 percent of your daily requirement), low-fat or nonfat yogurt also supplies protein and potassium. Choose plain yogurt, since the flavored kinds are often high in sugar, and make sure the label says the brand contains “live and active cultures,” since those bacteria have been shown to benefit your gastrointestinal tract and may help prevent yeast infections.
- Eggs: They’re versatile and packed with the protein moms need to help build and repair weary muscles. Eggs are also a good source of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. Still, because egg yolks are high in cholesterol, moderation is key. “It’s fine to have one a day,” says Felicia Busch, author of The New Nutrition: From Antioxidants to Zucchini.
- Vegetable Soup: You get a slew of vitamins and minerals when you eat soup loaded with veggies such as carrots, potatoes, and onions. Even better, because it’s mostly water (and also contains fiber), soup will fill you up on relatively few calories.
- Tomato Sauce: Loaded with lycopene, it’s a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to help keep arteries clear and reduce your risk of heart disease. Most jarred sauces also contain fiber and vitamins A and C. Be sure to heat it up in a cast-iron pot: The acidic sauce will leach small amounts of iron from the pot, giving you an iron boost.
- Beans: Canned or dried varieties, such as kidney, black, garbanzo, and navy beans, are a low-fat source of protein, iron, and soluble fiber, which can help lower your blood-cholesterol level. “You’ll make any meal healthier—from soups and stews to salads and pasta dishes—by adding a can of beans to it,” Blake says. However, since canned beans can be high in sodium, rinse them well in cold water or buy the no-salt kind.
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