It's important for both sexes to eat an array of healthy foods. But if you're female, science shows these seven foods could offer that extra edge.
Flaxseed: A "hot" ingredient in foods targeted to women, scientists are teasing out three potentially beneficial compounds in flax: plant based omega 3 fats, fiber, and disease-fighting compounds called lignans.
Kale: An underappreciated leafy green, kale is chock-full of a lot of good things for health in general, and some for women in particular. Antioxidants like lutein and zeazanthin protect the eye. Add to that a day's worth of vitamin C and small amounts of calcium. But tag its womanly superstar status to vitamin K, a potent bone builder. Researchers find that women who eat diets rich in vitamin K are at lower risk of hip fracture.
Walnuts: Noshing on a handful of walnuts may fight both breast cancer and osteoporosis. In one new study, just two ounces of walnuts per day helped delay development of breast cancer and slow tumor growth in mice.
Salmon: While the omega 3 fats in salmon do everyone a lot of good, women net a few unique benefits. Pregnant? Studies find the oils in fatty fish like salmon can help you beat the post-partum blues, particularly if you ratchet up intake during the third trimester. Building blocks for the brain and nervous system, omega 3 fats are also critical for the developing fetus.
Cranberry Juice: Sometimes natural cures really do work because when it comes to treating women's urinary tract infections cranberry juice is a recommended strategy. Not because it's acidic or has a lot of vitamin C. Instead, antioxidants called proanthocyanins are the real medicinal heroes. These tannins prevent bacteria from adhering to the walls of the bladder where they can multiply and cause, or intensify, an infection.
Greek Yogurt: Thick and creamy, Greek yogurt offers double the protein of most yogurts and far less sugar. The lower carb levels (7 grams versus 25 grams in fruited yogurt) help keep blood sugar on an even keel.
Tomatoes: Ripe and juicy, heirloom and cherry tomatoes are an easy food to love. So it's just icing on the cake that observational studies suggest lycopene-rich foods like tomatoes may play a role in warding off breast and cervical cancers.