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Top 10 super foods for women

WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

What foods do you need to stay strong and healthy?

Weird and wacky super foods that are big on promises but sometimes short on substance change all the time. We've had yuzi fruit and chai seeds to acacia berries and seaweed.

These so-called superfoods often have their moment in the spotlight and then fade away until the next one emerges.

It can be hard to work out what's the latest marketing ploy and what really are the best foods to eat.

We asked the experts from the British Dietetic Association for their advice on the healthiest foods for women – the real super foods to include in your diet.

1. Apples

We've all heard of apples! No strange and novel discovery there, but still a brilliant food to include in your diet.

"It is best to eat apples with the skin on as a lot of its vitamin C is concentrated just under the skin," says registered dietitian, Perryn Carroll. "In addition to this, the skin provides a great source of insoluble fibre that is good for gut health."

Fibre is essential for a healthy digestive system. Insoluble fibre (‘roughage’) helps prevent constipation. Apple flesh also contains a soluble fibre called pectin, which can help bind cholesterol and lower blood cholesterol levels.

2. Yoghurt

Yoghurt is an excellent source of protein, calcium, potassium, zinc and vitamins B6 and B12.

They are good for digestive and bone health.

"If you've been on antibiotics your gut is stripped of healthy bacteria so pick yoghurt with probiotics or prebiotics to top up your natural levels," says registered dietitian and BDA spokesperson Sioned Quirke.

"Yoghurt contains calcium which is essential for women's bone health, three dairy foods a day are recommended and a pot of yoghurt is an easy and portable option," she says.

Always read the labels on yoghurt as some are high in sugar, fat or both.

3. Oily fish

Salmon, sardines and mackerel contain the health giving omega-3 fats.

"Oily fish is a great source of omega-3s that may help with heart disease prevention and is also a good source of vitamin D, a fat soluble vitamin which helps with bone health," says Perryn.

"With oily fish the omega-3's are in the flesh of the fish that's why it's a darker colour than white fish," says Sioned.

"Evidence is still not conclusive," says registered dietitian and spokesperson for the BDA Sasha Watkins, "but studies suggest that eating oily fish may be protective against macular degeneration which is a cause of blindness in your old age."

Perryn says aim for at least one portion of oily fish per week, with women who are pregnant, or planning to be pregnant, or breastfeeding not eating more than two portions per week.

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