21 Foods Every Woman Should Eat at Least Once a Week

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The saying goes, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" - and that may be true. But the same phrase could probably be applied to avocados. Avocados give your body healthy fats that help to combat heart disease and other ailments. In fact, there are a lot of reasons you should eat more fat, especially the kinds of fat from avocados. They help with absorption of other nutrients, lower bad cholesterol and provide a good amount of folate, a mineral many women are missing. If you're pregnant, or plan on ever becoming pregnant, you need folate. It helps prevent birth defects and other complications during pregnancy.

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Bananas

Some women might choose to eat a banana every morning with every breakfast (although having just a banana for breakfast is probably a bad idea). Eating potassium-rich bananas with meals can help your body handle higher levels of sodium. One of the best things you can do to lower your blood pressure is to eat potassium with your meals. The best part about bananas is that they're just 19 cents each at Trader Joe's. (And for the cutest reason!)

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Beans

Beans really are magical. They're packed with protein and fiber, and they may even help prevent breast cancer according to some studies. Beans can also keep your heart healthy, lower your cholesterol, and increase your intake of vital nutrients such as iron and vitamin B. Many women are deficient in both of these nutrients, so adding more beans to your diet is probably a good call. They're also less than a dollar per can and pretty easy to cook with; adding them to your meals instead of meat or other more costly items can help you save on groceries.

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Blueberries

There's a reason neurologists recommend this berry over most others. Blueberries are brimming with antioxidants, which can preserve memory and keep blood vessels healthy. These antioxidants also make blueberries one of the best foods to eat to lower your risk of cancer. They're packed with fiber, naturally sweet and easy to incorporate into your diet. Eat them plain, buy them frozen to mix into yogurt or oatmeal, or bake something with them.

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Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are a highly underutilized superfood - each single nut has enough selenium to fulfill your daily needs, along with the many other nutrients in its compact shell. Considering most people forget to incorporate selenium into their diets, eating a Brazil nut each day could be a really good idea.

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Bread

Bread gets a bad rap, maybe because of all the myths about gluten being bad for you or the fear people have of eating too many carbs. But whole-grain bread can actually be really healthy. Whole-grain bread contains fiber, which studies show may lessen your breast cancer risk by reducing high estrogen levels in the blood. Fiber also helps to regulate digestion, preventing constipation and other unwelcome side effects of a low-carb diet.

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Brussels sprouts

They might not have been part of your favorite dinner dishes during childhood, but as an adult it's time you start eating Brussels sprouts. Cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, could combat excess estrogen that leads to breast cancer in many women, placing them among the foods that can help cut your risk. In fact, they're among the best foods to eat to prevent all types of cancer due to a phytochemical called glucosinolate. They're also fiber-rich, nutritious and (if you cook them right) delicious.

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Cinnamon

Cinnamon contains proanthocyanidins and cinnamaldehyde, two compounds with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that could help to prevent Alzheimer's and other neurological disorders, according to some studies. Maybe your obsession with pumpkin spice isn't so bad after all...

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Dark chocolate

If you've been looking for a healthy reason to eat more chocolate, here it is. Chocolate has innumerable health benefits from the flavonoids (a type of antioxidant) in the beans. These antioxidants can keep blood platelets healthy, improve the health of your arteries and lower your blood pressure. Additionally, dark chocolate is clinically proven to alleviate feelings of stress or tension. Stress can really wreak havoc on your body, so this is a huge perk.

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Eggs

The price of eggs may have changed since the year you were born, but their nutritional value has not. Eggs have many health benefits including boosting energy levels, supporting your hair and skin cells and preventing heart disease. Egg yolks contain choline, a nutrient used for the functioning of all cells that could also reduce your risk of breast cancer. Make yourself a delicious brunch or breakfast with eggs; there are so many delicious ways to cook eggs that you'll never get bored.

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Figs

They may be filled with dead wasps, but don't let that turn you off of them. A serving of figs has more potassium than a banana - and you need potassium to lower your blood pressure, ease anxiety, and support the health of your bones and muscles. Figs are filled with natural sugars that make them super sweet. Eat them dried, sliced on toast, or as a perfect complement to goat cheese in a salad.

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Garlic

It might not make you smell great, but eating garlic is well worth the stink. Garlic has more than 70 phytochemicals, all of which have health benefits of their own. Most notably, heavy consumption of garlic has been shown to lower the risk of ovarian cancer. If you're not sure how to incorporate it into your diet, here are some tips for eating more garlic every day.

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Leafy greens

There's a reason you're told to eat your greens. Leafy greens such as spinach and kale have so many health benefits it would take a book to list them all. You know about greens' preventative effect on disease, their boost to your skin health and the other big benefits - but there are a few perks that you may not know about. Women often experience hip pain or even fractures later in life. Leafy greens are great for preventing bone fractures. Greens do this by providing vitamin K, which is also a major player in the process of how to eat to prevent wrinkles.

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Lean beef

Many women are deficient in B vitamins. This deficiency can lead to anemia, which women are already more susceptible to experiencing than men. These nutrients are also crucial for nerve health and feeling energized. Lean beef is high in protein, low in saturated fat and filled with vitamin B.

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Nuts

If you like snacking on trail mix, go nuts. Peanuts, almonds, pecans and other types of nuts are nutritional powerhouses. They're filled with vitamins, minerals and healthy fats with health benefits ranging from preventing dementia to avoiding heart problems. Walnuts are particularly beneficial to women, as they have been linked to warding off - and even helping to improve the health of patients with - breast cancer. If you're not a fan of trail mix, try eating nuts in one of these nine types of nut butters.

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Oatmeal

Speaking of nut butter, it's a delicious way to jazz up oatmeal. The whole grains in oats can help keep blood sugar levels balanced and provide fiber. Since there are so many reasons you should never skip breakfast, eating a bowl of oatmeal is a healthy way to start the day.

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Red wine

It may seem like an indulgence at the end of a long day, but a glass of red wine does your health a whole lot of good. According to one Harvard study, women who drank wine had approximately 30 percent better odds of good health in their old age than women who refrained from drinking entirely.

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Salmon

Salmon is heart-healthy and delicious - perfect for the grill, for your salads, or even for an easy-to-make weeknight dinner. It's one of the best foods for getting your fix of omega-3s. These fatty acids have many benefits, but some of the most notable include their ability to preserve brain health, prevent cancer and calm damaging inflammation.

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Sweet potatoes

These fiber-rich alternatives to regular potatoes contain vitamin A, which can help preserve your eye health. Sweet potatoes can also help to prevent cancer and are easily prepared at home.

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Tomatoes

Throw them on sandwiches, make an herby pasta sauce or dip some chips in a jar of salsa. Better yet, whip up some homemade salsa for your family. It doesn't matter how you do it, but get more tomatoes somewhere in your diet. Tomatoes have vitamin A, which helps to fight acne and maintain a smooth complexion. They also have lycopene, an antioxidant that boosts your immune system, protects your vision and can combat breast cancer.

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Yogurt

Two nutrients you probably need more of are calcium and magnesium. Post-menopausal women in particular need calcium - it becomes much more difficult for your bones to absorb the nutrient due to a lack of estrogen. Magnesium is required for the proper absorption of calcium ingested from food. The good news is that yogurt piles on both of these nutrients. Consider eating more yogurt with breakfast or as a snack. After you turn 50 especially, as your nutrient needs are one of the many ways your body changes as you get older.

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