Growing old and falling prey to deadly diseases and illnesses is something we all fear. For women, who are constantly on the run, it becomes quite likely that they forego their physical well-being by putting it behind other responsibilites, whether personal or professional.
However, with age it is necessary for every woman to make self-care a priority. From conducting timely check-ups to consuming a nutrition-dense diet and exercising regularly, women should have a formula to stay healthy as they grow older.
Here’s a lowdown on how women should practise a healthy lifestyle by consuming the right foods.
It is highly recommended for women to consume legumes such as beans, peas, peanuts, and lentils, as they are exceptional sources of natural phytoestrogens and are also packed with essential vitamins and nutrients.
They help to regulate a range of hormone-related ailments, particularly during menopause. They help to bring down cholesterol levels and stabilise blood sugar, while also improving digestion.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, and kale are nutritional powerhouses filled with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. As per United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), eating half cup of green leafy vegetables everyday can prevent nutrient deficiencies and serious illnesses.
Combine them in your salad, include them in your smoothie and consume them raw or lightly steamed.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are treasure troves of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and fibers. Some healthy seeds and nuts for daily consumption are almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and pecans.
A handful of almonds if eaten daily will offer fibre, protein, calcium, zinc, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, iron and some vitamin B to the body.
Chia seeds are a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants, protein, carbohydrates, fibre, Vitamins B1, B2, B3 and Vitamin E.
Low-Fat Dairy Products and Meat
Low-fat dairy products such as skimmed milk or fat-free yogurt and cheese are good sources of calcium. Although less on fat, low-fat dairy products offer protein, vitamins and minerals. Women should eat foods rich in calcium, and, if necessary take calcium supplements as prescribed by the physician.
Stick to low-fat fish such as salmon, tuna and sardine and include lean meat like white meat in your diet. Fish is a good source of lean protein that has several nutritional benefits, including omega-3 fatty acids.
Make high fibre, low salt, low-fat foods like soya milk, tofu, chickpeas, flax seeds, cracked wheat, barley, oatmeal, and high quality protein supplements a part of your diet. Also, taking protein supplements in sufficient doses help to stay fuller and build muscle mass.
Foods like kidney beans, dark chocolates, raisins, barley, broccoli, tomatoes, and walnuts are rich in antioxidants. They help to fight diseases and reverse signs of ageing.
Antioxidants protect the cells from the effects of free radicals, lower the risk of heart diseases and strengthen the immune system.
Eating berries like raspberries, strawberries and blueberries several times a week has significant health benefits for women.
Berries reduce their risk of heart attack, breast cancer and promote brain health. Use them as toppings in your ice creams, low-fat yogurt and pancakes.
Cow's milk is a rich source of calcium and vitamin D. Drinking a glass of cow’s milk daily aids in weight loss, builds strong bones and teeth, boosts the immune system, protects the heart and prevents diabetes. Unsweetened almond milk, hemp milk and coconut milk are other nourishing health drinks that provide ample nutrients to the body.
While almond milk is rich in Vitamin D and low in calories, hemp milk consists of calcium and magnesium that are essential for maintaining healthy bones, muscles and teeth.
Coconut milk is lactose free. It helps to lower cholesterol levels, improves blood pressure and prevents heart attacks or a stroke.
Finally, this under-appreciated, but integral part of our diet. It may seem like an unimportant suggestion, but it can do wonders. Drinking 8-10 glasses of water every day reduces the risk of recurring bladder infection and flushes out toxins from the body. Apart from glowing skin, water helps to maintain good health overall. Kidney problems, which are also very common in women as they age, can be avoided if one drinks plenty of water.
Also, certain food habits should be kept under control, especially lunch meat or processed meat is a strict no-no, as it increases the risk of cancers, diabetes and heart diseases.
Frozen meals are also unhealthy, as they contain between 700 to 1800 mg of sodium, which can put women at a high risk of blood pressure and other health conditions. Even the intake of baked food items such as cakes, pastries and biscuits should be cut down, as they contain refined flour which is unhealthy.
These foods lack nutrients, are high in calories and are made up of fat and sugar. Ensure that you cut down intake of canned juices and aerated drinks as they contain high sugar content, which can trigger diabetes, and negatively affect your heart and liver.
(Sonia Narang is the Wellness Expert at Oriflame India. She writes and advises on health and nutrition. The views expressed above are the author’s own. FIT neither endorses nor is responsible for the same. )