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If you ask us, a balanced diet, and not diamonds, are a woman's best friend. Whether it is at home or at work, working round the clock can be exhausting. We know that the nutritional needs of a woman are different from those of a man. A diet that lacks in some of these essential nutrients can damage the body from within. Experts agree that a balanced diet, rich in all the essential nutrients holds the key. According to Bangalore-based nutritionist, Shalini Manglani, "Iron is the most important nutrient that your body needs to keep your energy levels high." We bring to you the 37 best and the healthiest foods for women. Adding them to your daily diet can help in sustaining long-term good health.
1. Green leafy vegetables: Leafy greens like spinach are excellent in strengthening the gut and keeping you healthy as it contains loads of iron. They are also good sources of folic acid and an antioxidant called lutein.
2. Mint (pudhina): It is rich in menthol, provides freshness and relieves indigestion.
3. Nuts: Eating about 30 grams or a handful of nuts every day is essential to maintain heart health and prevent the risk of diabetes.
4. Flaxseeds: They are extremely rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and reduce the risk of breast cancer. Garnish your porridge with some flaxseeds or blend them in your breakfast smoothie.
5. Sweet potatoes: They are storehouses of Vitamin A. This vitamin is essential for the skin and the eyes. Roast them or make a salad.
6. Garlic: It is a superfood that contains phytochemicals which reduces the risk of high blood pressure. Start your day with a clove of garlic each morning.
7. Figs: They are powerhouses of calcium and zinc. They improve bone strength and help in bone development.
(Also read: Whats the Difference Between Green Garlic and Garlic Scapes? )
8. Lychee: Lychees are repositories of Polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body that can cause disease.
9. Methi: Fenugreek, also known as methi, is packed with nutrition. It is capable of fighting against menopausal issues and hot flushes in women.
10. Holy Basil: Basil or Tulsi has anti-inflammatory qualities. It keep your immune system strong.
11. Beetroot: Beets help lower bad cholesterol levels and keep body weight under check.
12. Dark chocolate: Whenever you're a bit low, nibble on some dark chocolate. It is an instant mood lifter. You can even add a small piece in your morning oats.
(Also read: How Healthy is Your Heart? 7 Tips Every Woman Should Follow )
13. Coriander: This herb helps in the detoxification of the body and flushes out heavy metals from the system.
14. Mushrooms: Low on copper levels? Mushrooms must be included in your diet. They are also one of the few natural sources of Vitamin D.
15. Cranberry juice: It has healing properties that can prevent and relieve urinary tract infections.
16. Beans: Whether its rajma or lobia, beans are loaded with protein and help in managing menstrual symptoms.
17. Quinoa: This super grain is loaded with manganese, magnesium, potassium and protein.
18. Broccoli: Full of Vitamin C and calcium, broccoli is essential for your bones and joints. It's best to eat broccoli raw as Vitamin C is heat sensitive.
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19. Ginger: You must drink it daily. Ginger prevents nausea and vomiting.
20. Turmeric: Have turmeric in milk or spice up your dishes with this marvelous spice. It has the properties of healing and treating infections.
21. Berries: Berries are essential for mental health and they are also full of antioxidants.
22. Cherries: This juicy fruit has significant anti inflammatory properties and also promotes good sleep.
23. Almonds: Load up on almonds. They are rich in fiber and ease digestion. They also prevent against irritable bowl issues and build your immunity.
24. Whole grains: Whole grains like brown rice, amaranth and more have zinc, chromium, Vitamin B and E6. They prevent the risk of hypertension and obesity.
25. Orange vegetables: They are loaded with beta-carotene like carrots and sweet potatoes. They protect the skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun and prevent regular cold and flu.
26. Tomatoes: They are loaded with lycopene and are known to prevent the risk of heart diseases and breast cancer in women.
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27. Apples: Apples boost immunity and thus fortify the system against diseases. They are full of fiber and thus, help in weight loss.
28. Sardines: This type of fish prevents blood clots and the risk of strokes.
29. Bananas: Bananas help cure depression and anemia in women. They are loaded with potassium and fiber.
30. Oats: Oats are full of fiber that makes them perfect for breakfast or even as an evening snack.
31. Milk: Milk is a complete meal full of proteins and calcium and helps prevent the risk of osteoporosis.
32. Eggs: Be it an omelette or a half fry, eggs are very lovely. Eggs are loaded with lecithin that is very good for brain health along with Vitamin D and protein for energy.
33. Olive oil: This light and healthy oil is good for your heart and full of antioxidants. It can be a great part of your weight loss diet.
35. Salmon: It is rich in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce the possibility of accumulation of abdominal fats in the body. Photo Credit: Istock
36. Tofu: It is the best form of vegetarian protein. It is gluten free and low in calories. It has been known to reduce the risk of recurrence of breast cancer in women.
37. Cumin seeds: They are excellent to cure menstrual pain. Add them to a soothing cup of green tea and feel the difference.
The ever changing scenarios and dynamic challenges that life throws at a woman require her to maintain good health. Different stages of your life must be responded to with different vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Incorporate these foods as per your personal requirements and feel the difference it makes to your health and well-being.
The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.