Best Superfoods for Women of Every Age

Easy food choices can help you live a long, healthy life.

ByABC News
December 30, 2010, 5:21 PM

Dec. 31, 2010— -- Alyse Levine, LIVESTRONG's nutrition adviser, shared with 'GMA' the top superfoods for women.

Levine has a master's degree and is a registered dietitian.

She said women in their 20s need to have sustained energy throughout the day. Women in their 30s need to stay mentally alert at work throughout the day. As we age, we need to get more nutritional value out of the calories we consume. These superfoods, which are loaded with various nutrients, can help women live a long , healthy and full life.

Green Garbanzo Beans

Nutrient: Folic Acid

Green garbanzo beans are just like regular garbanzo beans but they are harvested earlier. They are higher in protein and fiber and you can eat them raw or roasted. You can probably find them at farmers markets.

These beans are very rich in folic acid, with a whopping 40 percent of your daily value in a 3.5-ounce portion. Women in their 20s and 30s are more or less in the child-bearing age range. Folic acid is essential to avoid birth defects, even before pregnancy. You want to make sure you have enough in your system.

Additionally, folic acid helps prevent spinal and brain defects in children while the fetus is developing in the first few weeks of pregnancy.

Sold between March and May, you can get them raw or roasted from street vendors, or raw from most grocery stores. A portion of 3.5 ounces also has 140 calories, 9 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein and 15 percent of iron.

Pumpkin Seeds

Nutrient: Iron

Pre-menopausal women have double the iron needs than any other women or men. A quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains a little more than 25 percent of your daily needs.


Nutrient: Calcium

Kale is a superfood loaded with calcium as well as vitamins and other nutrients (like all dark leafy green vegetables). Women are still building up to their peak bone mass stores in their 20s and 30s, and calcium is the key building block. You are still able to build up stores in your 20s and 30s. Building strong bones early in life helps prevent osteoporosis and allows for increased mobility later in life.

Besides calcium, dark green leafy vegetables contain vitamins A, C, and K, folate (the naturally occurring form of folate), iron, fiber and the fat soluble vitamins A, K, D and E . They are truly nutrient powerhouses.

Women in 30s or 40s

Chia Seeds

Nutrient: Omega-3 Fatty Acids

You may think of fatty fish for omega 3s, but Chia seeds, or purslane -- a green leafy plant -- are also a good source. They come from different plant-based sources that are important for women in their 30s and 40s and help to prevent heart disease. They reduce triglycerides while increasing HDL ("good" cholesterol). Another bonus: Chia seeds turn into Chia pets.

Women, especially those older than 40, whose lipid profiles show a high ratio of triglycerides to HDL, are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Omega-3-rich fish oil supplements do double-duty in protecting the heart and blood vessels by bringing triglyceride levels down while at the same time increasing HDL.

In addition to the better known sources of omega 3s -- fatty fish, flaxseeds and walnuts -- you may want to add Chia seeds or purslane both are nutritious foods that are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Brussels Sprouts

Nutrient: Vitamin C