100 Healthiest Foods for Women Every Nurse Should Know
Women’s health needs range from extra iron during childbearing years to calcium and vitamin D for bone health. The following list provides 100 foods that will help every woman ensure that she is getting the very best nutrition for her body. From delicious avocados to tasty snack treats like pistachios to healthy desserts that are actually good for you, every nurse or nurses assistant should have these 100 foods in her care-giving arsenal.
The following foods are just so good for you that they should be a part of your diet to help you stay healthy.
- Flax seed. This little seed is a great supplement for a woman’s diet. Flax seeds are high in omega-3 EFAs and lignans, an important type of fiber for women.
- Kale. This much-overlooked green is full of the B vitamin, folate, as well as calcium, and vitamins A and C.
- Pumpkin. Not just for pies, the beta-carotene in pumpkin reduces the risk of breast cancer and helps your body repair its skin.
- Butternut squash. Cook this baked, stuffed, or mashed or throw in a soup for a delicious vegetable high in beta-carotene.
- Sweet potatoes. Don’t just eat these jewels at Thanksgiving. Sweet potatoes are full of vitamins A and C as well as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and iron.
- Dark meat. Lean red meat and dark meat from poultry are high in iron, which is a necessity for women of childbearing age.
- Broccoli. Your mama always said to eat your broccoli. It’s high in calcium, potassium, and B vitamins.
- Salmon. This super food is high in omega-3 EFAs and protein, low in cholesterol and contains quite a few B vitamins, calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium.
- Mangos. Mangos are high in vitamin A and C and help guard against cervical cancer.
- Figs. Discover the flavor and benefits of figs, which are high in fiber, B vitamins, iron, potassium, and calcium.
- Kiwi. These tasty little fruits pack a punch with more vitamin C than an orange.
From high concentrations of vitamins E and A to anti-inflammatory properties, these foods are all great for keeping your skin healthy and young-looking.
- Avocados. Delicious and nutritious, avocados have lots of B-complex vitamins and are an anti-inflammatory, which is great for the skin.
- Green tea. Technically a drink, green tea has polyphenols which are an anti-inflammatory.
- Carrots. Carrots are full of vitamin A, which helps your skin repair itself.
- Spinach. This vegetable is absolutely loaded with vitamins and minerals with especially high concentrations of vitamins K and A and manganese and folate. It also helps prevent against osteoporosis, heart disease, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, and arthritis.
- Cantaloupe. This great fruit has plenty of vitamins A and C–two vitamins your skin needs to keep healthy.
- Citrus fruit. Oranges and grapefruit are full of vitamin C, which helps keep wrinkles at bay.
- Bananas. Bananas have the B vitamin biotin, which builds healthy skin, hair and nails and helps prevent skin irritations such as dermatitis.
- Tomatoes. Like bananas, tomatoes have biotin and also lycopene, which helps prevent cancer.
- Sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds have lots of vitamin E, which is well-known for its healthy skin properties. Taken both topically and eaten, the benefits of vitamin E for your skin are enormous.
- Hazelnuts. Another great source of vitamin E are hazelnuts, which also offer protection against cancer and heart disease.
- Olives. Olives provide both vitamin E and anti-inflammatory properties which help promote healthy skin. They are also very high in iron.
- Brazil nuts. Brazil nuts are high in selenium, which can reduce the chance of sunburn on the skin, slow down the aging process, and aid in the treatment of skin cancer.
- Cottage cheese. Eat cottage cheese to get lots of calcium and selenium for your skin. Use in place of ricotta in your recipes.
- Walnuts. These nuts are packed with omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs which promote skin repair and elasticity.
Healthy Cardiovascular System
To prevent against heart disease and stroke, eat these foods to strengthen your cardiovascular system.
- Canola oil. Replace the oil in your salad dressing with canola oil for a healthy alternative.
- Skinless poultry. Leaving off the skin will greatly reduce the fat in poultry, making for a more heart-healthy diet.
- Egg substitutes. Reducing the fat from eggs will help your heart. If you don’t like egg substitutes, just eliminate the yolk and eat the egg white.
- Cabbage. This vegetable is a great food for a healthy cardiovascular system. Eaten raw is best.
- Onions. Another good vegetable for your heart is onions.
- Grapes. Easy to get and loved by most, this fruit is also a great choice for a healthy heart.
- Raspberries. High in antioxidants, this fruit offers benefits to your cardiovascular system.
Getting your cholesterol to a healthy level is a combination of reducing the bad cholesterol (LDL) and raising the good (HDL) cholesterol. The following foods all play a part in either reducing the bad, raising the good, or both.
- Whole wheat bread. Get rid of the white bread and switch to whole wheat, which lowers bad cholesterol.
- Oatmeal. A great food for reducing cholesterol, oatmeal also has lots of vitamins E and C, potassium, and omega-3 EFAs.
- Soy. Soy has been shown to not only significantly lower bad cholesterol, but to also raise good cholesterol. Use soy milk, tofu, or edamame for the best results.
- Almonds. With lots of polyunsaturated fatty acids, almonds will help reduce the bad cholesterol in your body.
- Fish. Find fish rich in omega-3 EFAs such as mackerel, salmon, tuna, and trout.
- Extra-virgin olive oil. This variety of olive oil, which is less processed, will help lower your bad cholesterol and is high in antioxidants.
- Unsaturated fats. Replace saturated fats in your diet with unsaturated fats to reduce your cholesterol. Try replacing cooking oils with canola, corn, safflower, or soybean oils.
- Garlic. Raw garlic (and lots of it) will help reduce your cholesterol. You might want to make sure your partner is sharing the garlic with you, though.
- Cranberry-grape juice. Cranberries raise the good cholesterol while grapes slow the bad cholesterol’s oxidation.
- Pomegranate juice. According to a National Academy of Sciences study, this juice reduces cholesterol plaque build-up and reduces plaque in your arteries.
Women who work to create healthy bones experience fewer problems with osteoporosis in their later years. These foods are rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, and other nutrients essential for bone health.
- Leafy greens. The calcium in leafy greens absorbs much better in the body than calcium in dairy products.
- Sesame seeds. High in calcium to prevent bone loss and have copper, which can reduce the swelling and pain associated with arthritis, and zinc, which also helps keep bones healthy, these tiny seeds are a big source of nutrition for bone health.
- Beans. Beans are low in fat, high in fiber, inexpensive, and have a high amount of non-animal protein that helps prevent calcium loss.
- Lowfat yogurt. Yogurt is high in calcium and is easier to digest than most other dairy products. It also contains lots of vitamin A and protein.
- Tofu. Also high in protein and a great source of nutrition for your bone health, tofu is versatile and delicious.
- Eggs. Not only are eggs loaded with protein, they are also full of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium more efficiently.
Losing weight seems to be a national pastime. Rather than jumping on a fad diet, change your menu to include these foods and see the difference it makes in your life.
- Tortillas. Low in fat, tortillas make a good substitute for bread. Find whole wheat to really get the best for your body.
- Water. This should be your drink of choice. It keeps you hydrated, suppresses your appetite, and helps metabolize fat.
- Fruit smoothie. Add bananas, blueberries, apple juice, and wheat germ or protein powder for an excellent food to keep you healthy and encourage weight loss.
- Whole wheat bagel. Filled with nutritious whole grains and low in sugar, bagels work for breakfast or as the bread for your sandwich at lunch.
- Romaine lettuce. Give up iceberg lettuce, which has barely any nutritional value and use romaine for your salads and sandwiches.
- Veggie burger. Filled with soy and other vegetables, this alternative to beef is significantly lower in calories and healthy too.
- Dried papayas. Full of iron and vitamins C and A, dried papaya is good for you and the sweetness is a great substitute for a candy bar.
- Spaghetti squash. Cook this healthy vegetable and replace the strands of it for the pasta in your spaghetti recipe for a delicious meal without the carbs.
- Watermelon. Sweet and full of hydrating water, this fruit is a great food to fill you up without filling you out.
Nuts, Beans, and Grains
These foods provide lots of protein and are a great substitute for red meat. Find out how to add these healthy foods in to your diet.
- Lentils. These little powerhouses are super high in iron, protein, and fiber. They also have lots of potassium, calcium, iron, B vitamins, phosphorus and copper. Also, lentils have absolutely no fat.
- Quinoa. Quinoa is a fun substitute for rice and is a great source of iron, which women need in their diet.
- Barley. Another grain not frequently used outside of beer, it is full of protein, fiber, potassium, phosphorus and iron.
- Brown rice. Replace your white rice with brown rice to get tons of health benefits including a reduced risk for diabetes, colon cancer, heart disease, and lower cholesterol.
- Peanut butter. Not just for sandwiches, dip apples or celery in peanut butter for food high in protein and fiber–and a good replacement for red meat.
- Bulgur. Similar to cracked wheat, but requiring less cooking time, bulgur is a whole grain full of fiber, calcium, and protein.
- Chickpeas. Throw these in a salad or make some simple hummus with these legumes full of protein, fiber, and folate.
Foods that are high in antioxidants help reverse the damaging effects of oxygen on the cells in your body. The benefits of antioxidants include anti-aging as well as prevention for heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
- Kidney beans. With these inexpensive beans you get protein, fiber, folate, magnesium, and iron. Try substituting kidney beans for meat in your next meal.
- Blueberries. Full of vitamin C and potassium, these little berries are full of nutrition and reportedly are one of the foods highest in antioxidants.
- Plums. Available almost year round, these fruits have plenty of vitamins A, B, C, fiber, and potassium.
- Strawberries. For a fruit that can protect your heart, guard against cancer, provide anti-inflammatory properties, and help prevent age-related macular degeneration, strawberries are the way to go.
- Artichokes. Get magnesium, folic acid, fiber, and vitamins A and C with artichokes, which can help with a whole host of medical problems.
- Blackberries. These plumb little tasties are full of vitamins B, C, and K as well as fiber and manganese.
- Pecans. Full of vitamin E and great for lowering cholesterol, these nuts are great on their own or baked in a pie, cookies, or brownies.
- Cherries. Rich red cherries are not only delicious, but are high in fiber and vitamins C and A. They are reported to help with arthritis, heart health, and sleep problems.
- Honey. Chock full of antioxidants, this sweet treat also has antibacterial properties and works well for sore throats and coughs.
- Apples. Long associated with healthy nutrition, an apple a day can provide heart and brain health benefits.
Some foods are so incredibly packed with important nutrients that they have become known as super foods. Read about these super foods and you may discover a new favorite food that is great for your body.
- Acai. Known as one of the most nutritious berries in the world, use this juice in a smoothie or drink on its own.
- Goji berries. Give this latest super food a try. One of these little Himalayan berries has more vitamin C than an orange and more beta carotene than carrots.
- Cacao nibs. The heart of the cocoa bean, this little bit of raw chocolate is full of antioxidants as well as flavonoids that help your heart and have been reported to significantly elevate your mood. Try some covered in chocolate for a combination of the raw and finished product.
- Buckwheat. Full of protein and high in amino acid, buckwheat also helps stabilize blood sugar and reduce hypertension. Japanese soba noodles and buckwheat pancakes are two delicious ways to eat this food.
- Chili peppers. Packed with vitamin C, these hot little numbers also contain antioxidants and help burn fat.
- Sprouts. For protein and vitamin C, sprinkle some sprouts on your salad or use in your sandwich along with your leafy green lettuce.
- Rhubarb. High in potassium, vitamin C, and fiber, rhubarb also helps reduce hot flashes in menopausal women.
- Pumpkin seeds. These seeds are loaded with phytosterols, which help lower cholesterol, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs and minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and iron.
- Cinnamon. Containing polyphenols, the same agent in green tea, cinnamon has been shown to reduce blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
- Shallots. Replace or use in addition to garlic and onion to get the benefits of this vegetable that helps promote the good bacteria in your digestive tract and help eliminate toxins from your liver.
- Turmeric. A popular spice used in Indian dishes, it has been used for hundreds of years to treat arthritis. Use it with chicken or in Indian curry to help reduce inflammation due to arthritis or any other cause.
Making it between meals can sometimes be hard without a snack. Instead of reaching for a bag of potato chips or driving through to pick up fries, try these snacks instead.
- Energy bar. Some energy bars are specifically designed for women such as Luna Bars, which are organic and have plenty of calcium, folate, iron and antioxidants.
- Granola bar. Make your own or buy some with natural sweeteners for a healthy between-meal snack.
- Pretzels. This crunchy snack is high in fiber and protein.
- Multigrain crackers. Eat these by themselves or put some healthy treats on top for a delicious snack full of whole grains and fiber.
- Rice cakes. Low in fat and calories and full of the nutritional benefits of rice, rice cakes enjoy a long history in Asia as a healthy snack.
- Graham crackers. Not just for kids, these treats are sweet and healthy at the same time.
- Soy crisps. These healthy snacks are full of protein, iron, and calcium.
- Veggie chips. Toss out your potato chips and opt for some type of veggie chips instead. Made with real vegetables and made with non-hydrogenated oils, these are the chips to eat.
- Pistachios. This delicious snack is full of potassium and healthy fats.
- Popcorn. Skip the butter and try any number of healthy touches sprinkled on top such as chili powder, a light sprinkling of flavored sea salts, or Italian seasoning.
Finishing off your healthy meal with a giant piece of pie covered in ice cream may be okay every now and then, but for healthier desserts, chose something from this list.
- Frozen yogurt. Replace your ice cream with a healthy alternative that provides calcium as well as curbs that sweet tooth.
- Frozen fruit bar. Look for a bar with no added sugar, just pure fruit goodness, for a nutritious dessert.
- Fresh melon salad. Mix cantaloupe and honeydew with some fresh mint leaves and honey for a delicious dessert that is very healthy.
- No-sugar hot chocolate. Mix unsweetened cocoa with stevia and sprinkle cinnamon on top for a healthy after-dinner drink.
- Dark chocolate. Get dark chocolate with 60% cocoa or greater for a delicious snack that can reduce blood pressure and is full of antioxidants. Better yet, try an all natural version like Innocent Chocolate made with organic, raw, and unprocessed ingredients and sweetened with agave instead of sugar.
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