With Mother’s Day just around the corner, now is the perfect time to take a closer look at the key nutrients that moms (and all amazing women!) need the most.
Women’s bodies require different priorities in the realm of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients than men. And throughout adolescence, child-bearing years, and on into maturity, certain nutrients are required to keep the female body vibrant and at its peak. Fortunately, you can usually skip the supplement aisle and get these nutrients the natural way, from healthy and delicious superfoods! Read on for a few of the top nutrients for women and moms, as well as some the best superfood and healthy plant-based sources to obtain them.
Essential Fatty Acids
A balance of omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids are incredibly important for female health, as these “good fats” help produce energy, build cells, clot blood when needed, and transport oxygen, among a litany of other important functions. And for women who are pregnant or breast feeding, essential fatty acids are more important than ever for the growth and maintenance of neurons (for both baby and mom) – experts recommend getting at least 500-600 mg of Omega 3's per day. Chia seeds are a wonderful superfood source of essential fatty acids, as well as hemp seeds, soybeans, acai, flaxseeds, and walnuts. If your diet is fully plant-based, you may want to consider taking a superfood supplement as well made from algae oil which provides DHA and EPA (two specific kinds of Omega 3's not found in plant foods except some algae), which are paramount for neurological function.
Many women struggle with anemia, a condition associated with not getting enough iron. An imperative mineral, iron is the nutrient that produces and supports red blood cells, which keeps us active and energized. Luckily, iron is abundant in a superfood diet: cacao and even dark chocolate is a great superfood source of iron (as well as magnesium and antioxidants). Kale, chia, spinach, and mulberries are other great foods to consume to ensure a healthy iron level is maintained.
This nutrient is most essential during the child-bearing years because it’s been proven to reduce the risk of birth defects. Additionally, it’s also shown promise in preventing some types of cancer and heart disease as well. Unfortunately, many of the processed foods we consume are stripped of folic acids when they’re refined (we're looking at you, white flour). On the other hand, whole grains, pseudo-grains like quinoa, and green leafy vegetables are good sources of folic acid. Women can also incorporate more carrots, apricots, avocados, and melons into their diets for a folic acid boost!
Fiber is important in every diet, but it’s often overlooked. This nutrient keeps the digestive track moving and helps promote a healthy weight. Flaxseed or chia seed powders are great superfood sources of fiber, as well as essential fatty acids. Other great sources of fiber for women are beans, whole grains, berries (mulberries in particular have a TON!), and oatmeal. The most natural way to healthfully and sustainably maintain a detoxifed body is to keep hydrated and eat plenty of fiber!
True, antioxidants are a broad category, but they are profoundly important for anti-aging and disease prevention. Green tea has been shown to lower the risk of breast cancer by up to 22%, and maqui berry’s off-the-charts anthocyanins help to enhance memory and prevent age-related loss of cognitive functioning. Truth be told: if it’s a nutrient-dense superfood, it likely has a great collection of antioxidants to offer, so feel good about your natural food choices!