Foods for the best nutritional profile: Now that food science has taken root in people’s diets around the world, eating healthy is not as easy as it should be. Chemicals, GMOs, artificial sweeteners and shortening are more ubiquitous than ever before.
When it comes to your health as a woman, wholesome, real food is essential. Eating a broad range of nutrient rich foods is pivotal to a long, beautiful life, which is why including these nutritional superstars in your diet should be priority.
Instead of focusing on a single food, this looks at vitamins and nutrients that are essential to women’s health. That way, instead of combing the grocery store aisles for a specific ingredient, you can load your plate with a broad range of foods for the best nutritional profile.
Foods for the best nutritional profile
Also known as ‘live and active cultures’ found in fermented products and dairy, these live microorganisms are indispensable when it comes to maintaining a healthy gut. An unwell GI tract means bloating, discomfort, bowel issues and an impinged immune system. The impact gut microflora has on your health should not be ignored.
- Korean Kimchi and sauerkraut
- Sourdough bread
- Skyr (Icelandic Yogurt), Greek and non-fat yogurt – try to avoid low-fat diet brands, which are glutted on chemicals, dyes, and other useless fluff
- Banana – not exactly a source of probiotics but high in fructooligosaccharides, a carbohydrate that helps develop gut microflora and keep them happy.
Omega 3 fatty acids: The body needs fat to survive. The good thing is that not every type of fat makes you gain weight. Omega 3s and the plant version, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) can actually increase metabolism, smooth your skin, and help you shed pounds faster than if you completely restricted all fat content. Moreover, these fatty acids lubricate your joints, act as natural antidepressants and protect the brain from dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Flaxseed and flaxseed oil
- Salmon and other oily fish
- Hemp Seeds
- Olive and Canola Oil
A water-soluble nutrient that is essential for maintaining the structural integrity of cells and a healthy metabolism. Since choline aids in keeping cholesterol and triglycerides in check, a deficiency of this nutrient might result in fatty liver disease. Choline is also needed for nervous system regulation and development, cancer prevention and is an anti-inflammatory.
- Peanuts (significant levels)
- Seeds (pumpkin and sunflower)
B vitamin that helps the body process fat and sugars. A lack of biotin in your diet might result in brittle nails and hair. It is especially important for expecting mothers.
- Almonds, walnuts and other nuts
- Strawberries and raspberries
Only found in plant-based sources, these phytoestrogens have a miraculous effect on female health. A comprehensive study in 2009 published in the British Journal of Nutrition proved that post-menopausal women who regularly consume lignans have a lower BMI and a reduced risk of cancer. Higher lignans can also lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels when eaten regularly.
- Flaxseed – the best source, but you’d have to eat 3-4 tablespoons a day to achieve the RDI
- Whole grain bread and cereals
- Sesame and sunflower seeds
A lot of research has been done on Lycopene and the benefits it provides. Lycopene is a free-radical neutralizer that helps to reduce the onset of aging and age-related diseases, like Alzheimer’s, atherosclerosis and cancer. Since heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States, consider grabbing some vine-ripened tomatoes to avoid becoming a statistic.
- Tomatoes – heating tomatoes increases the levels of lycopene in a single serving by 35%! Papaya
- Watermelon – the true superstar in lycopene. A single wedge as 40% more lycopene than tomatoes.
7. Soluble and insoluble fiber
The benefits of fiber go beyond digestion and motility. If you are concerned about your figure, then the satiety that fiber promotes will definitely help you feel fuller longer. Plus, think of insoluble fiber – the kind that can’t be digested like a gigantic lint roller for your GI tract that picks up any stray glucose and LDL cholesterol along the way.
- Split peas and lentils
- Black beans
- Brussel sprouts
- Oatmeal and similar whole grains
- Chia Seeds
Let’s consider what inflames our bodies for a moment. Things like trans fats, carbonated beverages and high-fructose corn syrup do intense damage to your body by increasing risk of cancer, skin problems, metabolic disorders and obesity.
When you consume foods that reduce inflammation, you not only fight free-radical damage and premature aging, you can stave off pain, burn fat, and even treat disorders like rheumatism and fibromyalgia.
The core of the anti-inflammatory diet:
- Spices and herbs like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, sage, rosemary and cloves
- Green tea
- Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel
- Olive oil
- Brown rice, bulgur wheat
- Strawberries, blueberries, cherries
Instead of tasting the rainbow, savor the galaxy of nutrient dense whole foods like the ones listed here. These all-stars are various, so you will never be limited to what is in season. The all-stars also boast a universe of benefits when included in your diet. Not only will you reduce your risk of illness, you can keep your body functioning at its peak.
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