In honour of International Women's Day, here's a cheeky list of the best foods to have in your diet if you are a woman. Not a sexist statement, but a shout out for the delicious foods that especially support the biology of women, yet are also good for all humans :)
International Women’s Day is just around the corner, on the 8th March and what better way to honour all our women than to sneak a peek inside the kitchen door. Food preparation has traditionally been let to the women in most cultures and although times are a-changing, the foods which are most beneficial to women have remained fairly constant. So, whether you are a woman, a man or non-specific, let’s create a meal to celebrate your feminine side!
Stock up your kitchen with these Female-Friendly Foods!
First up are Lentils:
These tiny little pulses are a powerhouse of nutrition. They come in many shapes, sizes and colour with dark green and black lentils topping the nutrition charts for women. They are a super source of fibre and protein, two very important components of a healthy, balanced diet for all of us. Women reap added benefits from the iron and B12 content. Active women, pregnant women and girls in their teens are more susceptible to become anaemic (low iron levels) than any other gender group. Even if you do not fall in these categories, being a woman is a risk factor for low levels, especially as we age. Both iron and B12 are involved in many functions in the body but in particular in the making and distribution of red blood cells, energy, nerve and mental health. Lentils can also help stabilize blood sugars, decrease bad cholesterol and alleviate symptoms of PMS and the menopause.
Broccoli is up next – this green giant of the cruciferous vegetables has been long associated with protective powers against oestrogen-led cancers in both men and women. Indole-3-carbinol is a substance in cruciferous vegetables that helps the liver to detoxify oestrogens, both those we make ourselves but also the xeno-oestrogens we are exposed to in our environment through toxic plastics, household products, hormone-disruptors in food and water supplies and in our cosmetics and body care products. The fibre found in broccoli (and other cruciferous vegetables) is a favourite with our gut bacteria, helping to maintain a healthy colony of the good bugs inside of us.
Oil Love You
Wild-caught salmon may be as scarce as hen’s teeth these days but is worth the effort and cost for its omega-3 content. This good fat is also found in other oily fish, mackerel, sardines, anchovies and in nuts and seeds. This is the kind of fat that keeps our blood vessels supple and helps reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, which increases after menopause. It also improves cognitive health, protects vision and promotes glowing skin which are desirable features of a healthy woman at any stage of her life.
Keep Her Fresh!
Now it’s time to add a bit of fresh, vibrant ingredients to our plate with tomatoes and spinach. These two ingredients work great together, with one ingredient complementing the other in flavour and in the synergy of their combined nutrients. Spinach, once the go-to food of Popeye, is associated with increased strength and energy from its iron, B vitamins and folic acid content. Also rich in lutein, vitamins A and C it provides anti-oxidants and protective nutrients for our eyes, lungs and immune system. Similarly, tomatoes have these anti-oxidants too and together, are a potent duo. Tomatoes also are rich in lycopene, most famed for slowing the aging process and for UV protection. Tossed together with a little olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper is enough to make any woman happy, inside and out!
Some extra love to add to the menu!
While it is tempting to serve a glass of red wine with this meal, which has some health benefits a more apt beverage for the woman is a nice tall glass of cranberry juice! But “the lady doth protest, methinks”! A woman’s biology (and plumbing) makes her more prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs) with more than half of all women experiencing a UTI in their lifetime. Proanthocyanins, found in cranberries prevent bacteria adhering to the linings of the urinary tract and bladder and reduce the risk of a bacterial infection. Choose pure, unsweetened cranberry juice, not from concentrate and without added sugar. It is quite tart so best diluted with water.
For dessert, organic Greek yogurt, fresh blueberries and a little local raw honey will keep the female feast on trend, with plenty of girl-power served with a little sweetness. Greek yogurt is a good source of protein, calcium, vitamin B12 and live bacteria, all of which are needed for a strong, resilient body yet often left lacking when we need them most. Blueberries are antioxidant-rich powerhouses protecting the body from the negative effects of stress, pollution and ageing.
There you have it, a little taste of what your food can do for you, no matter what gender you identify with. A wholesome meal is the greatest act of self-care, and can be celebrated every day and International Women’s Day can be the reminder of how we can make everyday a great day for our health and wellbeing.
To women everywhere...RESPECT x