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Menopause : Super Foods For Women

By Mukherjee, Meghna

Feel younger, stay slim and thwart diseases by including these superfoods in your diet. We brought in experts to tell you what you need to eat, to stay fit and healthy. So, sit back and read on as we give you some important tips that work wonders..

Low fat yogurt

High in calcium and protein, low fat yogurt is ideal for women. Nutritionist Pallavi Srivastava says, "Yogurt, being an excellent source of calcium, helps fight osteoporosis. The consumption of yogurt is also said to decrease the risk of breast cancer, reduce irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory digestive tract disorders -- all of which are common in women." It reduces the risk of stomach ulcers and vaginal infections.

Quantity: 1 bowl every day

Fatty fish

Fatty fish are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, sardines, tuna and mackerel help reduce the risk of blood clot formation that might occur due to the use of contraceptive pills. Bariatric surgeon Dr Abhay Agrawal says, "Fatty fish protects against diseases related to the heart, stroke, hypertension, depression, joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis and reproductive problems, and in some cases even from Alzheimer's disease."

Omega-3 helps in optimal brain and vision development of the baby in the case of pregnant or lactating mothers. It is known to boost the level of serotonin, which is a feel-good brain chemical that aids in fighting postpartum depression.

Quantity - 2 to 3 servings every week

Beans

Low in fat and cholesterol; and a good source of protein and fiber, beans fight against heart disease and breast cancer. They are ideal for women who are either affected or have chances of getting colon cancer. An excellent source of vegetable protein, they aid women going through menopause.

Quantity: 3 to 4 servings every week

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolates are said to be rich in protective anti-oxidants that help reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. It consists of magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and copper zinc, which are important nutrients for maintaining strong bones. Certain studies also suggest that dark chocolate lowers blood pressure, sharpens thinking and hydrates the skin. It's the perfect stressbuster when a woman is PMSing, and it tastes sensual without being high in calories.

Quantity: One quarter a day

Papaya

An excellent source of potassium and vitamin C, papaya can offset the potentially harmful effects of sodium on blood pressure. A research by the US Department of Health and Human Services suggests that women are at a higher risk of gallstones than men. So, load up on papaya because it helps combat gallbladder diseases. But pregnant women should refrain from papaya (unripe) since it acts as a contraceptive, which can lead to a miscarriage.

Quantity: 2 slices per day

Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain a powerful anti-oxidant -- lycopene, which helps reduce the chances of being affected with breast cancer. Nutritionist Mansi Belani says, "Tomatoes are also known to protect from the harmful UV rays of the sun. It helps a woman stay younger and slimmer."

Quantity: 1 tomato every day

Spinach

Spinach is known to be one of the best sources of folate which prevents birth defects, heart disease, colon cancer and dementia. Spinach also helps our skin from getting damaged due to heat, and delays wrinkling, fine lines and roughness of the skin with comes with age.

Quantity: About 2 to 3 servings a week

Berries

Dr Agrawal suggests, "Like wine, berries protect your body with powerful anti-carcinogenic nutrients -- anthocyans, which are believed to play a role in cell repair." High in vitamin C and folic acid, it is essential for women in their child bearing years. Its powerful anti-oxidant not only protects the heart but also the skin against ageing. Cranberries are known to have a positive impact on your vision, and to help reduce the chances of urinary tract infections which are common in women of all age groups.

Quantity: 3 to 4 servings every week

Whole grains

The consumption of whole grain helps combat blood pressure and a slow metabolism. Srivastava says, "Swapping refined grains like white bread and rice with whole wheat bread, rice, brown rice and oats will add more fibre to your diet and give you a feeling of fullness with fewer calories." Studies suggest that whole grains help the body retain potassium, which helps in maintaining blood pressure.

Times of India

Quantity: Once a day

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