By Julie Morris, Superfood Chef
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, now’s the perfect time to take a closer look at the key nutrients that moms (and all women!) need the most.
Women’s bodies require different priorities in the realm of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients than men’s bodies do. Throughout adolescence, the child-bearing years, and well 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 six of the top nutrients for moms (and all women!), as well as the best food sources.
1. Essential Fatty Acids
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are incredibly important to a woman’s health, as they help produce energy, build cells, clot blood when needed, and transport oxygen. For women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, essential fatty acids are even more important, and experts recommend getting at least 500-600 mg per day. Chia Seeds are a wonderful superfood source of essential fatty acids, as they contain eight times more Omega-3s than salmon! Other delicious sources of this nutrient include Hemp Seeds, soybeans, Acai, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
Many women struggle with anemia, or not getting enough iron. Of incredible importance, 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 is a great superfood source of iron, as well as magnesium and antioxidants (and even dark chocolate will supply some iron, too). Women can also eat more kale, chia, spinach, and Mulberries to maintain a healthy iron level.
3. Folic Acid
This nutrient is most essential during the childbearing years because it’s been proven to reduce the risk of birth defects. Unfortunately, many of the processed foods we eat are stripped of folic acids when they’re refined. Whole grains 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!
This is a nutrient that helps keep the brain sharp, which is important to women of all ages. One of the best natural plant-based sources of betaine is Goji Berries. These tiny berries contain numerous free-radical-fighting antioxidants, amino acids, carotenoids, vitamins, and minerals, and they make a delicious addition to oatmeal, cookies, and trail mix. Other great sources of betaine are beets and quinoa.
Fiber is important in every diet, but it’s often overlooked. This nutrient keeps the digestive tract moving and helps promote a healthy weight. Flaxseed or Chia powders are also great superfood sources of fiber, as well as essential fatty acids. Other excellent sources of fiber for women are beans, whole grains, berries (Mulberries, in particular, have a TON!), and oatmeal.
True, antioxidants are a broad category, but they are profoundly important for anti-aging and disease prevention. Green tea and Matcha contain powerful catechins, especially EGCG, which may be effective in killing off bacteria, protecting against viruses, and lowering your risk of infection. 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.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! And if you’re still searching for that perfect Mother’s Day gift, how about making your own superfood body butter and sending her a sweet care package?