“Superfoods” are foods packed with nutrients that offer various health benefits, and have few if any negative properties. It’s not a medical term, but one that’s emerged more popular culturally. Since it’s best to load up on your vitamins through diet rather than through expensive vitamins, it’s always a great idea to reach for “superfoods,” and we’ve outlined the ones that are particularly good for women in their 20s and 30s. While these multitasking foods won’t make your Spidey senses tingle (or, maybe they will: read below about edamame), they may help to ward off diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis.
Fiber-rich apples are a great food to help you feel fuller longer while providing you with a necessary dose of pectin, a soluble fiber. It’s believed that pectin reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, and the risk of colon cancer, breast cancer, and diabetes.
You may know to gulp down cranberry juice if you’re suffering from a urinary tract infection (as a compound in cranberry juice helps to flush bacteria from the urinary tract), but did you know that cranberries also help to reduce cholesterol? Eat them dry, fresh, ground, as a salad topping, in a smoothie, or drink natural cranberry juice. Now that’s what we call versatility.
Tomatoes are loaded with the antioxidant lycopene, and they’re thought to play a role in protecting the skin against damage that leads to skin cancer–cases of which have soared recently in young women. Apart from that, tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, which can give your immune system a boost.
While the research is still developing, kale may help to prevent breast and ovarian cancers. Researchers think that kale’s phytonutrients may cause the body to make enzymes that combat cancer-causing substances. If you need further evidence to try out this multi-purpose green, it’s also great for providing you with vitamin C, potassium and calcium. Remember, in your 20s and 30s you still need lots of calcium to build your bone mass to prevent osteoporosis.
Blueberries aren’t just delicious, they may protect you against cancer and dementia, and can even neutralize free radicals that cause cell damage. That is, the nutrition in blueberries can help to protect the skin against prematurely aging (we knew that would perk you up!).
While it’s the showstopper at Thanksgiving, consider eating turkey regularly year round. In terms of superfood criteria, the selenium in lean turkey breast meat will help boost your immune function. Need more reason? It contains niacin and vitamins essential for energy production.
Women in their 20s and 30s disproportionately suffer from low iron levels that can lead to anemia, which can leave you feeling tired and low energy. Eggs are not only a great source of protein to start your day off right, but they also combat anemia because they are rich in iron. An added bonus: eggs have biotin and vitamin B-12, which can help make your mane lovelier by strengthening your hair.
Popeye was on to something with his obsession with this superfood, which is rich in vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, potassium, and vitamin B6. Spinach also provides antioxidants (via flavonoids), is anti-inflammatory, aids digestion, and helps lower the effects of stress in the body (via magnesium). Perfect, since being in your 20s and 30s may be fun, but it’s a crazy stressful time of life.
Quinoa is a whole grain that’s an excellent source of fiber and even has protein, so it’ll help you feel fuller for longer. Quinoa’s fiber and whole grain helps to prevent high cholesterol, and since it’s also rich in zinc, it’s thought to protect against stroke and cancer.
While salmon has omega-3 fatty acids, the key ingredient here is the DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Your body can use DHA to protect its cellular membranes, which can help combat depression, cardiovascular disease, strokes, hypertension, and Alzheimer’s. And did you know taht omega-3 fatty acids are great for keeping mucous membranes in tip top shape–dry eyes remedy, anyone?
Pistachios pack a wop of antioxidants your body needs to reduce cholesterol and even help reduce stress in some situations. In addition, they’re a great source of iron, calcium and potassium. If you’re looking to meet protein needs, pistachios will give you more than any other nut (apart from almonds). At snack time, go for unsalted in shells. And those shells are actually a good thing, since the time it takes to crack and eat each pistachio will make you more conscious of portion size (probably why we’ve heard pistachios be referred to as “the skinny nut”).
Folate isn’t just important for expectant mothers, but for all women of childbearing age. It’s even been shown to ward off grey hair in some cases. For a healthy folate-rich snack, steam edamame or sprinkle it onto a salad. Some have even pointed to edamame as something of an aphrodisiac. Looks like you may want to head to a sushi restaurant for your next date night…
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