There are some healthier foods for a woman as they are rich in essential nutrients for every stage of a woman’s life. According to the nutritionist and consultant at Superbom, Cyntia Maureen, for each age group there is a need for a woman’s body.
For example, while iron is essential in childhood, in adolescence, B vitamins are some of the most important substances in this phase. Likewise, during adulthood, nutrients such as vitamins A, C and essential fatty acids are indispensable.
In old age, the nutritionist recommends that women invest in foods rich in isoflavones. This is because this substance has an estrogen-like effect on the female body. In addition to meals rich in vitamin E.
Based on this advice, we have separated 15 healthy foods and nutrients for the female body. These items are arranged throughout the article, divided by age and importance. Follow them all!
Healthy food for women in childhood
Various fruits, grains, vegetables and other natural foods are essential to keep the female body healthy and protected. But just like men, women need specific nutrients throughout their lives. Therefore, check which foods cannot be lacking in women’s diets during childhood!
The first food that should not be missing from the girls’ meals is, in fact, a set of items: fruit. According to nutritionist Cynthia, after exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age, the child can take advantage of foods rich in iron , zinc, vitamins C, A and D .
“Iron, for example, helps in the formation of the brain and its neuromotor functions. While the other vitamins help in iron absorption, in strengthening the immune system and bone health, respectively”, explains the nutrition specialist.
Other important foods in childhood are leafy vegetables and legumes . Together, these foods are able to maintain a healthy weight and inhibit the emergence of problems in the future, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. ( 2 )
Like vegetables, the types of beans in their natural forms also contribute to the prevention of health problems. In childhood, especially, this food contributes to the intake of important nutrients for the body, such as fiber, folic acid and iron . ( 2 )
Similar to beans, chickpeas are also welcome in human food, especially for women. This is because this product is a source of magnesium and calcium , two important nutrients for healthy growth and development. ( 3 )
Indispensable foods in adolescence
At this stage of life, it is common for young women to want to follow standards of beauty imposed by society. However, this type of behavior must be curbed by parents, preventing teenagers from presenting problems such as anorexia, bulimia or even depression.
Even in adolescence, girls are in transition, as menstruation begins and their bodies are in constant transformation. Thus, nutritionist Cyntia Maureen recommends foods that are sources of B vitamins, iron and zinc.
5. B complex vitamins
Products of animal origin (meat, fish, eggs, milk and milk products), leafy greens , legumes, cereals and grains are some of the foods rich in several vitamins that make up the complex B. For teenagers, these products can be a muscle tone ( 4 ), preventing severe colic pain.
They are also beneficial for the skin, hair, eyes, mouth and liver. They also promote an improvement in brain function, combating depression, fatigue, migraines and nausea. ( 4 ) For all these reasons, they should be adopted in the daily diet of young women.
Generally speaking, oilseeds are important to all groups of people. That’s because they are rich in several important nutrients for the human body such as minerals, vitamins, fiber and healthy fats. ( 5 )
In addition, they are foods considered to be antioxidants, rich in selenium and fatty acids , such as omega-3 and omega-6. However, they should be consumed with caution, as they are caloric and can help with weight gain. ( 5 )
Examples of oilseeds are chestnuts, walnuts and almonds .
The consumption of iron-rich foods is essential during puberty for both sexes. This is because it is at this time that the accelerated growth of young people occurs. However, this nutrient is even more important for teenage girls, due to the loss of iron during menstruation .
To give you an idea, after 16 years of age, the daily need for iron is three times greater for girls. In this case, it is recommended that the diet is composed of foods with high nutritional value in iron, such as meat, cereals and leafy vegetables . ( 6 )
During this period of life, many women have to deal with several problems, as the responsibilities are even greater in adulthood. Work, study, home, and sometimes family take up a lot of female time.
With this, there are great chances of forgetting basic health care, such as adequate and healthy eating. So, check out how not to neglect this very important moment by hitting the correct foods.
8. Vitamin A
Unfortunately, vitamin A deficiency in the human body is quite common in Brazil, especially in children and breastfeeding women. ( 7 ) For this reason, it is important to consume foods rich in this micronutrient found both in animal and vegetable sources.
In addition to human milk, vitamin A can be found in beef liver, egg yolk and cow’s milk .
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale are also sources of this nutrient ; yellow vegetables, such as pumpkin and carrots; yellow-orange fruits such as mango, cashew, papaya and persimmon; and oils and oleaginous fruits, such as palm oil and pequi. ( 7 )
All these foods promote an action called antioxidant in the body. For those who don’t know, this effect helps in reducing damage to the body’s cells, which are caused by free radicals. In addition to keeping the body healthy, this action also prevents premature aging.
9. Vitamin C
Another essential vitamin for adult women is vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid. Widely known and talked about, this nutrient can be found in fruits such as acerola , papaya, guava , kiwi, strawberry and orange. Peppers, broccoli and cauliflower are other foods rich in this substance.
As in the previous topic, vitamin C also acts against free radicals, forming the first line of defense against these substances. In this way, it helps the immune system by promoting resistance to infections and inflammation. Furthermore, it is related to the formation of collagen and red blood cells. ( 8 )
According to the nutritionist and vice president of the Brazilian Medical Association of Orthomolecular, Renato Leça, a diet rich in omega-3 improves women’s quality of life and brings a greater sense of well-being to their daily lives.
Also according to the doctor, breast cancer, cardiovascular diseases and hormonal changes can be influenced by regular consumption of this substance and its supplementation.
Therefore, it is recommended to make constant use of marine fish oils such as sardines, salmon, tuna, herring and anchovies. It is also recommended to use seaweed, oils and seeds of some vegetables, such as linseed , for example. ( 9 )
Like omega-3s, type 6 is also considered an ally of women’s health and well-being. This type of fatty acid is able to protect the skin against problems, alleviate the symptoms of premenstrual tension and fight cardiovascular disease.
In addition, omega-6 also acts to protect bones against wear and, consequently, preventing predisposition to diseases such as osteoporosis. For all these reasons, the daily use of foods such as vegetable oils , such as sunflower, corn, soy, etc. , is recommended . ( 9 )
Essential foods for elderly women
There are several problems and diseases that are very common at this stage of women’s lives. With advancing age, there is also the aging of cells, the weakening of bones and the weakening of the body’s vital functions.
Therefore, check which foods are best suited for elderly women to take care of their health in the most natural way possible.
The transition from adulthood to old age also brings hormonal changes for women. In this case, it is common for females to go through a period called menopause , when there is a gradual decrease in the activity of the ovaries in the production of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. ( 10 )
With this reduction, some common symptoms of menopause appear, such as insomnia, anxiety and irritability. Furthermore, it is also common to increase the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Fortunately, studies show that soy has a substance called an isoflavone, a subclass of flavonoid compounds, and that it has estrogenic activity . Thus, she manages to reduce the effects of menopause, making this period lighter for the woman.
In addition to soy, which is the main source of isoflavones, foods based on it also contain this substance. Therefore, it is recommended to add to the diet products such as soy milk and tofu. Sunflower, walnuts, chickpeas , lentils, peas and legumes are other reliable sources. ( 10 )
13. Vitamin E
Other foods that can alleviate the symptoms of menopause are sources of vitamin E. According to studies, this substance helps reduce hot flashes that are also common in this period of life for women.
Also, this same substance acts as an antioxidant. As we’ve already seen, this effect protects cells against premature aging , keeping the body as young as possible.
Elevated vitamin E levels also lower the risk of a heart attack or stroke in most people, including women. This nutrient can also delay or prevent age-related illnesses. An example of this is the improvement of short-term memory in the elderly.
Therefore, it is recommended to add food sources of vitamin E, such as: fresh vegetables, olive oil and vegetable oils . ( 8 )
The ratio of calcium and strong bones is quite popular in society, so it is common to encourage the consumption of this mineral at all stages of a woman’s life, especially in old age.
That’s because menopause increases the risk of osteoporosis in females. “One in three postmenopausal women and the majority of the elderly population suffer from osteoporosis.” ( 11 )
With adequate calcium intake, the risks of developing this problem are mitigated. Therefore, the consumption of milk and dairy products is indicated .
15. Whole foods
To complete our list of foods and nutrients for women’s health are wholegrain foods, including breads and cakes, for example. That’s because, these products are rich in fiber , which favors a better functioning of the intestine . ( 12 )
*Article written with the collaboration of nutritionist and consultant at Superbom, Cyntia Maureen (CRN 42.830/SP) and nutritionist Renato Leça (CRM-SP 58.672).