Women’s Equality Day is August 26th! This serves as a good reminder of the extraordinary strength that every woman possesses. It’s also a good time to stop, breathe, and remember to make our health a priority. Below is a list of 5 foods and 5 herbs that support women’s health and reduce symptoms that many women experience throughout different phases of their lives.  

Using food to promote good health is not only a fantastic way to circumvent the overuse of pharmaceuticals, it is truly the first step in supporting overall well-being. And remember to #RestoreBefore to help defend against environmental toxins such as glyphosate. 

Power Foods

Flaxseeds & Walnuts 

Flaxseeds and walnuts are full of phytoestrogens, fiber, and ALA (an essential fatty acid). Phytoestrogens are compounds that are naturally occurring in many plants. When we eat phytoestrogens, our bodies may respond as if our own estrogen were present. Phytoestrogens from plant-based foods do not bind to estrogen receptors as strongly, and many studies show that phytoestrogens help with estrogen metabolism. Plant-based phytoestrogens can be helpful in perimenopause and menopause to relieve symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats and reduce risk of osteoporosis. 

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of alpha-linolenic acid, ALA, which is an omega 3 fatty acid. These essential fatty acids have lots of anti-inflammatory properties. Essential fatty acids must be consumed as your body is unable to make them on its own. Essential fatty acids are an important component of the membranes that surround each cell in your body. They have many functions that positively affect the heart, endocrine system, neurological system, and immune system. They are also important in regulating neurotransmitters which affect mood. Pregnancy, post-partum, perimenopause, and menopause create a lot of hormonal fluctuations in the body which take a toll on your mental state. Pumpkin seeds can have a positive impact in boosting our feel-good hormones during this time. 

Spinach

Leafy greens such as spinach have numerous beneficial nutrients including folate which is a b vitamin (B9). Folate is essential for pregnant women to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in infancy. Folate also helps to metabolize homocysteine from building up in the body. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is correlated with heart disease. Heart disease is the cause of 1 in 4 deaths for women.  

Quinoa

Known as a pseudocereal, quinoa is a great source of fiber and is a complete protein. It also has 15% of the RDI for iron which is a mineral that is extremely important for women, specifically menstruating women. Women are often at risk for low iron due to menstruation and low consumption of iron rich foods. Iron deficiency anemia can result in fatigue, weakness, pale skin, chest pain, fast heartbeat, headaches, dizziness, cold hands and feet, inflammation or soreness of your tongue, hypothyroidism, and brittle nails. 

Kiwis

Kiwis are such a tangy delicious fruit that they are often overlooked for their nutritional benefits. The kiwi is an excellent source of vitamin C and K and a good source of potassium, vitamin E, and folate. Vitamin C is necessary for iron absorption and is important for collagen production. Kiwis are also a very hydrating fruit which helps reduce menopausal symptoms such as night sweats and hot flashes which contribute to dehydration.  

Power Herbs

Black Cohosh

An herb native to North America, black cohosh has been used since the 1800s to support a healthy female reproductive system. It also helps to alleviate symptoms of hot flashes, sleep disorders, body pains, irritability, mood swings, helps treat PCOS and may help treat uterine fibroids. Black cohosh is typically found as a dietary supplement and in a liquid tincture.  

Stinging Nettle

A perennial flower that has been used medicinally dating back as far as ancient Greece, stinging nettle is found all over the world, but its origins are in the colder regions of Europe and Asia. Nettle is rich in minerals and high in iron which supports women’s health during menstruation and childbirth. Nettle also supports kidney health and helps to clear urinary tract infections. Stinging nettle can be cooked, taken as a tincture, or as a tea.  

Red Clover

Red Clover is part of the legume plant family which is why animals graze on it in the wild. It is a rich source of phytoestrogens which provide protective effects post menopause, improve bone mineral density, and lower risk for heart-related problems. Red clover also encourages healthy detoxification and acts as an antidiuretic which helps to get rid of waste and toxins through the body’s lymphatic functions. Red clover can be taken as a liquid tincture or as a capsule.  

Ashwagandha

An ayurvedic adaptogen that helps to modulate the stress response to bring the body back to homeostasis, ashwagandha works with the central nervous system and the adrenals to manage cortisol levels. Chronic elevated cortisol levels can lead to burnout and adrenal fatigue. Ashwagandha also helps to increase blood flow, improve immune function, and increase libido. It can be taken as a capsule or in a liquid tincture.  

Maca Root

A type of cruciferous vegetable that is native to the Andes of Peru, Maca is also considered an adaptogen and helps to manage hormones in the body. In addition to being an adaptogen, it contains many micronutrients and antioxidants such as iron and vitamin C which both help to boost the immune system. Maca root has also been shown to increase libido, relieve menopause symptoms, improve mood, and build muscle due to its protein content. Maca is best taken in a powdered form and can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, and hot beverages.