From quinoa to black rice: Five superfoods every woman should include in her diet
A woman’s nutritional needs are quite different from that of a man. These requirements change with age as she goes through menstruation, pregnancy, lactation and menopause.
Naturally, a woman’s body is more prone to wear and tear, with every stage of life requiring a focus on their diet. Women, in their round-the-clock routine, balancing the dual responsibility of a career and family, often forget to take care of themselves.
Here are some superfoods, suggested by chef Krishna from bigbasket that are packed with extra nutrients, which can ensure that a woman gets that extra boost of energy and nutrition that is essential for her well-being.
Believed to be ‘the mother of all grains’, this superfood has risen to global fame in the last few years. It is gluten-free and a complete protein. Quinoa contains twice as much fibre as other grains (almost 17 to 27g per 100g), and helps cut down the risk of hypertension, heart disease and diabetes. It is rich in copper, iron, magnesium and phosphorus and is a good source of manganese, an antioxidant, which helps manage PMS. Quinoa is an excellent source of lysine that helps restore tissue damage. It primarily contains two flavonoids, quercetin and kaempferol, which are known to have good anti-inflammatory, anti-cancerous and anti-viral effects.
Originally from Mexico, chia seeds have come to be highly regarded and valued for their nutritional and medicinal benefits. Chia seeds are an excellent source of fibre and omega-3 making them highly beneficial for the heart and the digestive system. They are rich in alpha lipoic acid or ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid, which is highly effective in preventing breast and cervical cancer. High in antioxidants, they are also good for the skin and prevent premature ageing. They are rich in calcium, magnesium, and potassium and help build healthy muscles and strong bones. Regular consumption of chia seeds helps reverse oxidative stress by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. These seeds have a wide spectrum of nutrients packed into them making them an ideal diet inclusion for expectant and lactating mothers.
Also known as ramdana in hindi, ‘amaranthus’ in Greek means non-wilting. Amaranth’s gluten-free status has earned it the reputation of being a life and health enhancer. It is rich in calcium, iron, and phosphorus and is remarkably high in protein offering roughly 28g per 100g. Packed with double the amount of calcium as compared to milk, this superfood helps prevent osteoporosis. Amaranth is a complete protein. It also contains lysine, which helps strengthen hair follicles, and prevents premature graying and hair loss. It is also a good source of heart-friendly unsaturated fatty acids (upto 77%). High in dietary fibre, amaranth helps ease constipation, cramping of stomach muscles, gastric and peptic ulcers, and aids smooth digestion. It is also a good source of vitamin C and has a functional role in the production of collagen, which keeps skin healthy and young.
A seed that is both high in protein and fibre, buckwheat is also called groats. It is power-packed with many nutrients and antioxidants including tannins, rutin, and catechins. What makes buckwheat unique is its amino acid composition that helps in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure and assists in digestion. Buckwheat also has a good amount of heart-healthy fats. Buckwheat is composed of complex carbohydrates that have a low glycemic index, and aids in balancing blood sugar levels. It is also a good source of B-vitamins, zinc and folate, all of which are essential for a healthy circulatory system. Besides, these minerals also help fight depression, headache and anxiety.
Also known as ‘forbidden rice’, it was consumed thousands of years ago by Chinese royalty. Black rice may not be as well known as brown, red, or wild rice, but it has a rich profile of nutrients. It is the best form of rice when it comes to protein, antioxidants, fibre and phytonutrients. Black rice also contains high amount of iron and copper and is one of the best-known sources of anthocyanin, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight free radical damage and inflammation. Although black rice contains high levels of arsenic, employing proper cooking methods can bring down arsenic levels to safe limits. Apart from this, black rice also helps in keeping the heart healthy and aids in maintenance of cholesterol levels. It brings down oxidative stress and helps detoxify the body.
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