Disease fighting foods for women

It’s well known that cranberries can help protect against cystitis but there are other foods for women with disease fighting properties:

  1. Papaya. This tropical fruit packs about twice the vitamin C of an orange. After analyzing the blood of over 13,000 people, scientists from the University of California, San Francisco, found that women who had lower levels of vitamin C were more likely to have gallbladder illnesses. One medium papaya (about ten ounces), with its 188 mg of vitamin C and a mere 119 calories, is a good source of the vitamin. The once exotic fruit now can be found in most supermarkets.
  2. Flaxseed. Rich in oestrogen-like compounds called lignans which are a potential weapon against that lady killer breast cancer. You can add flaxseeds (also called linseeds) to cakes and bread, but the easiest and healthiest way to get the beneficial lignans is to sprinkle a few tablespoons of ground flaxseed on your morning cereal. Look for the seeds in health food stores or in supermarkets and buy organic ones. They’re easy to grind in a blender or coffee grinder or you can get them ready ground in a vacuum pack and then store them in the fridge. Buy the seeds if you want the lignan-effect as there are no lignans in the oil.
  3. Tofu. Foods high in soya protein can lower cholesterol and may minimize menopausal hot flushes and strengthen bone. Isoflavones, plant chemicals in soya beans that have a structure similar to oestrogen, may be the reason. A half-cup of tofu contains about 25 to 35 mg of isoflavones. Other beans like lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans etc are a good source of isoflavones too.
  4. Collard Greens. This humble vegetable may help fight osteoporosis, which afflicts many women late in life. In addition to getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, some studies suggest that vitamin K may have a bone-protective effect as well. Based on data from one of the largest studies of women, the Nurses’ Health Study, researchers discovered that women who ate enough vitamin K-rich foods (at least 109 micrograms of the vitamin daily) were 30 percent less likely to suffer a hip fracture during ten years of follow-up than women who ate less. The researchers stated that dark-green leafy vegetables — Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli — are all good sources of the vitamin. But collard greens, with about 375 micrograms per half-cup, are among the best.

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