Since moms are so precious to us, the best gift we can give them on their special day is a list of foods to keep our gal pals healthy, happy, youthful and sexy. Here’s a primer on fabulous female foods for all ages to relish on Mother’s Day and throughout the year.
Skin savers: Women want to keep that youthful glow and taut complexion. Some choice foods make nature’s best plastic surgeons like guava, a tropical collagen factory that helps build and plump up skin cells. Whip up a guava smoothie for mom, guava gazpacho (see recipe below) or feta and roasted guava salad for a daily dose of anti-aging.
Romaine lettuce, the Vitamin A king of leafy greens, will also rev up skin cell turn over to rejuvenate skin and give a luminous radiance. Rich in Vitamin K, these luscious leaves will reduce bone loss to help keep the jaw and chin line youthful.
If you love nuts, pop a selenium-rich Brazil or some Vitamin E-packed raw almonds in your lunchbox to ward off free radical cell damage.
To keep the skin hydrated and flush impurities from your body drink plenty of water (6-8 glasses a day). For a more palatable swig, add a splash of pomegranate juice or float some cucumber slices on top. Also, eat water-packed foods (like watermelon and honeydews) to plump up those thirsty cells.
As women age (especially as they turn the corner at 50), they should boost their calcium-rich food intake to keep bones strong and ward off dreaded osteoporosis. To this end, nothing beats sardines and wild-caught salmon (preferably canned in pure olive oil with calcium-rich skin and bones intact), low-fat dairy, dark leafy greens — kale, spinach, chard and collards — calcium-fortified orange juice and enriched grains. Vitamin D has been an invaluable ally to bones in helping absorb calcium from the gut.
Menstruating women require more iron than postmenopausal ones, while women generally need more iron than men. To pump iron into your diet (to prevent anemia) the best sources include dark leafy greens, beans and legumes (like chickpeas and lentils), dried apricots, mollusks (scallops, clams), egg yolks and artichokes.
To dial-up digestion and the immune system add probiotic warriors that contain beneficial gut bacteria to your diet, like high-powered yogurt with a mother lode of live cultures or goat dairy or kefir, a refreshing fermented dairy that resembles a yoghurt-type beverage packed with billions of colony-forming units to keep the tummy tame.
Cranberries are a girl’s bladder’s best friend. This tart little cousin to the mighty blueberry is rife with Vitamins A, B, C and K, a slew of minerals, antioxidants, and especially proanthocyanidins with anti-adhesion properties that prevent and treat pesky urinary tract infections. Drink cranberry juice straightup to pack the most potent anti-bacterial punch, or blend in muffins or scones, chutneys, salads or raw trail mixes.
A woman’s best arsenal against breast cancer: Vitamin D-rich foods (organic eggs, milk, mackerel, salmon, sardines and cod liver oil); a 15-minute daily dose of sun’s rays; omega-3 rich flaxseed, walnuts, sunflower and sesame seeds; and cruciferous warriors (broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, turnip greens and cabbage).
Green and black teas contain antioxidants called polyphenols, which are also thought to prevent cancer cells from dividing.
Seafoods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, along with seaweed and other oceanic veggies, are heart-loving treasure troves. Look for supplies of wild-caught, deep sea, cold-water fish like salmon, herring (pickled in wine, not sour cream), mackerel and anchovies. Seeds and nuts are omega-3 powerhouses, too, for those who don’t do fish, while olive and sesame seed oils are best for the heart.
Dr. Mehmet Oz has the perfect prescription for perking up tired romantic wiring by jump-starting testosterone levels. Sexy little zinc-rich foods can do the trick by putting the skids on enzymes that morph testosterone into estrogen. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with the high-octane mineral, along with wheatgerm, lamb, crab and super dark chocolate. Also, fresh basil has been touted as a powerful libido booster, perhaps because it’s been found to cure headaches!
Fountain of Youth Guava Gazpacho
My refreshing gazpacho is like a bowl of Botox to keep mom looking fine.
2 ripe guavas, seeded, cut in cubes
4 assorted heirloom tomatoes, chopped
2 Persian cucumbers, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 cups vegetable juice
Handful fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Method: Combine ingredients in a large glass bowl and stir gently. Chill for 2 hours. Ladle into martini glasses and garnish with lime slices. Cheers!
—For additional Mom’s Day recipes e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org