Five Nutrition Tips for Women
As women, we lead busy lives and it’s important that we feel at our best throughout each day. Good nutrition is a commitment we can make that leads to more energy, better sleep, a clearer mind, and a better mood. Here are 5 tips to help you achieve that peak performance.
Fill up on Fruits and Vegetables
As women, the last thing we want is the extra water-weight and puffiness that comes from chronic inflammation. Many fruits and vegetables, especially the ones with brighter and darker colors, are packed with anti-inflammatory flavonoids other antioxidants which prevent free radicals from building up in the body. Grabbing for the darker greens means more nutrients, so spinach is much more beneficial than iceberg lettuce. Swiss chard and bok choy are both super picks because they are brimming with vitamins K, A and C and have robust amounts of fiber.
Choose Local and Seasonal
The freshest produce has the highest amounts of nutrients because vitamins begin to break down as soon as a food is harvested. Farmer’s markets and the local section in some groceries will have produce that will be at peak freshness because shipping time is nearly eliminated. Many people join CSAs (community supported agriculture) and find a regular shipment of local fruits and vegetables adds variety to their commitment to eating better. Many CSAs deliver straight to your home and office.
Avoid Industrial Seed Oils
An easy way to figure out which oils are healthy is to picture the source. Avocados, coconuts, and olives are all very oily foods and therefore can have their oils extracted very easily with minimal processing. Industrial seed oils, on the other hand, take a great deal of processing to remove their oils. Soybeans, cottonseeds, rapeseeds (used to make Canola oil), and corn were never used to make oils prior to the industrial revolution because their oil must be chemically processed. Those foods are easy to mass-produce on large farms and the government subsidizes them, but that doesn’t make them healthy. The worst possible oil is hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are not found in nature. The problem is that those seed oils are unstable and become oxidized and toxic very quickly, which can lead to inflammation in the body. Both avocado oil and coconut oils are stable, even at high temperatures, so can be used for cooking. Olive oil has a lower smoke point so is best consumed on salads and vegetables, but not used for cooking.
According to the USDA, a food that is labeled organic was produced without chemical pesticides, no fertilizers were used with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, no bioengineering or GMOs, no ionizing radiation, no antibiotics or hormones were fed to animals, and a government-approved certifier has inspected the farm. (https://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/organic-productionorganic-food-information-access-tools)
Not only do you skip the toxic chemicals when you eat organic, studies also report that organic foods contain fewer heavy metals. The British Journal of Nutrition published a study showing organically grown crops were 48% less likely to test positive for cadmium, a toxic heavy metal that is dangerous to the body as it accumulates in the liver and kidneys. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4141693/) Exposure to any heavy metals can cause symptoms such as low energy, mood disturbances, neurological disorders, and fertility problems in women.
Eating healthy can be confusing at times. For instance, many health food stores are overrun with foods that are far from nutritious. Cookies made from non-GMO flour and raw cane sugar may have fewer chemicals than regular packaged cookies, but they are still highly processed. Organic corn chips will cause a spike in blood sugar and insulin that will leave you hungry a few hours later. When you pass up the processed food and opt instead for nuts, seeds, grass-fed meats, free-range eggs, and organic produce, you are providing your body with the vitamins, minerals, and fiber it needs to obtain optimal health.
Prior to the industrial revolution, people had very little access to the empty calories that now crowd our store shelves. The human body was meant to eat fresh, local, foods, brimming with nutrients and bursting with flavor. So listen to your body and give it the unprocessed, organic, and raw foods that people for generations have eaten. After been eating like that for a while, you’ll feel so great, you’ll never want to return to your old ways.