10 Top Foods for Women

Pamela Peeke, M.D., M.Ph. and author of Fight Fat After 40 (Viking, 2000) and assistant professor of medicine at the University Of Maryland School of Medicine, highlights the Top 10 Foods for Women:

1.Calcium-rich foods: Calcium is very important for the maintenance of strong bones, and in conjunction with specific exercise, helps to delay or reduce the effect of osteoporosis. Good choices are low-fat dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, calcium-fortified soy products, fruit juices and grains.



2.Iron-rich foods: Due to monthly cycles, women who are premenopausal need more iron. Good sources of iron are lean beef, liver, Swiss chard, spinach and tofu. Keep your salads large and don’t shy away from chicken livers, which are magic in quick stew of onions, mushrooms, peppers, red wine and cream.

3.Fruits rich in Vitamin C: These include citrus fruits, strawberries, green and red peppers, and guavas. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, and there is evidence to suggest that antioxidants lower the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). As you know, vitamin C supports the immune system and is particularly necessary in winter when colds and flu are a threat! Try to eat at least 2 to 3 servings of fruit per day.

4.Green leafy vegetables: These vegetables include spinach, kale and bok choi (also known as Chinese cabbage). They provide important nutrients such as folic acid and iron. Try to eat at least three servings of vegetables each day.

5.Nuts: Nuts are high in monounsaturated fats (which can help lower cholesterol levels), and polyunsaturated fats (which can help prevent heart disease). In addition, nuts are a good source of protein, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, selenium, folic acid, vitamin E and vitamin A. Nuts are high in calories, therefore only one serving per day is recommended.

6.WATER: Water is important for all metabolic processes in the body. It also aids digestion and improves the appearance of the skin. Ensure you have drinking water easily accessible during the day.


7.Cranberries and cranberry juice: Cranberry contains “A Type” proanthocyanidins (also known as condensed tannins), an antioxidant that has been clinically demonstrated to attach to E. Coli fimbriae, preventing the bacteria from attaching to the urinary tract or bladder wall. Many women have therefore found the consumption of cranberry products helpful in treating symptomatic urinary tract infections. So you could cut out having to rely on antibiotics for infections, and that’s just the start of the good news. New research also suggests that cranberries may promote cardiovascular health.

8.Foods rich in folic acid: Foods rich in folic acid include asparagus, oranges, fortified cereals and green leafy vegetables. Also known as vitamin B9, it is involved in important processes relating to nucleic acids. However, despite its vital role, signs of folic acid deficiency are often subtle. Anemia is a late finding in folic acid deficiency. Some studies have concluded that folic acid plays a significant role in cardiac health.



9.Wholegrains: Wholegrains include brown rice, barley and quinoa. Evidence has consistently shown that wholegrain foods substantially lower the risk of chronic diseases such as CHD, diabetes and cancer, and they also play a role in body weight management and digestive health (wholegrains are high in fibre). A large portion of quinoa for lunch (you can add roast veg) and brown rice with your supper is recommended. Another beneficial characteristic of wholegrain foods is their low GI. Low GI foods release energy more slowly than high GI foods, staving off hunger pangs for longer periods.

10.Soy Protein: Soy protein is a protein that is isolated from soybean. Processed soy protein appears in foods mainly in three forms: soy flour, soy protein isolates, and soy protein concentrates. For sources of soy in your local health shop, you should look for soy milk, tofu, soy nuts, and soy butter, which all contain soy protein.


I recently attended The Aspen Brain Lab and was fortunate enough to meet and listen to Pamela Peeke speak at the conference on food addiction and the brain. Incidently, this very busy medical professional is also a successful tri-athlete and she certainly walks the talk.

She believes that if we eat more greans we can change our genes and;

• Sugar‭ ‬is more addictive than cocaine‬‬‬
• Exercise and mental focus‭ ‬is‭ ‬key‬‬‬‬‬‬
• You can beat it‭..‬ Your genes are not your destiny!‬‬‬
• It’s all about‭ ‬CHOICE‭. Take control over your health and change your lifestyle.

“What you put in your mouth is causing organic changes in your brain which set you up for a vicious cycle that not only could potentially pack on pounds and lead into that whole arena of problems‭, ‬but will condemn you to a life of disability and early death‭.”

“I always say‭, ‬genetics load the gun, but the environment pulls the‭ ‬trigger‭.” Pamela Peeke.

Pamela Peeke
Pamela Peeke