With a plethora of nutrition advice available to women, sometimes the little things can be missed, which can complement a diet that is rich in fruit, vegetables, good fats and proteins. So here are 12 essential nutrients that should grace the kitchen of any woman to give her diet the VIP treatment.

Basil

The main use of basil medicinally is as a natural anti-inflammatory herb. Many naturopathic doctors prescribe basil in treatment of diabetes, respiratory disorders, allergies, impotence, and infertility. This may be because basil contains cinnamanic acid, which has been found to enhance circulation, stabilize blood sugar, and improve breathing in those with respiratory disorders. It is also know that basil is very high in antioxidants, especially when it is used as an extract or oil. These antioxidants can protect your body against free radical damage associated with aging, some skin ailments, and most forms of cancer.

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Parsley

Parsley is one of the world’s most popular herbs to cook with. It is an excellent source of two vital nutrients: vitamin C and vitamin A (notably through its concentration of the pro-vitamin A carotenoid, beta-carotene). Parsley is a good source of folic acid, one of the most important B vitamins. Parsley benefits in women with hormonal problems, including improving estrogen levels, restoring blood in the uterus, and reducing premenstrual syndrome, dry skin and depression.

Chaste Tree Berry 

Chaste Tree Berry is one of the best herbs to support a woman’s menstrual cycle, it has a powerful effect in balancing the hormones by supporting good interaction between the brain and the ovaries, so that the ovaries can produce healthy levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Chaste Tree berry has a strong taste and is best consumed in its tincture form and can be beneficial especially for women with short menstrual cycles, trouble conceiving, cramping and PMS.

Cumin

Cumin is popular in Indian dishes and many other cultures. It gives an amazing earthy flavor to food and is an excellent source of minerals like iron, copper, potassium, magnesium and zinc. The seeds themselves are rich in iron and are thought to help stimulate the secretion of enzymes from the pancreas which can help absorb nutrients into the system. It has also been shown to boost the power of the liver’s ability to detoxify the human body. It can help with flatulence, indigestion, diarrhea, nausea, and morning sickness.

Red Clover

Red clover is a high source of phytoestrogens, which are substances in plants that look like the body’s own hormone, estrogen. This can be helpful when estrogen levels are low (such as during menopause), especially when used in combination with black cohosh, mentioned below. Red clover can help with the hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness that can occur when estrogen levels drop. It has a very pleasant taste and great to use in tea.

Coriander

Coriander is an amazing spice; its green leaves and seeds can be used fresh. The seeds can also be used whole or roasted and grounded. This spice is known to help to lower cholesterol; it is used to treat Type-2 Diabetes. Coriander leaves are high in iron, magnesium, Vitamin C, folate and Vitamin B12. Coriander is a natural stimulant, and helps to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle and can also be effective in reducing the associated pain during a woman’s period.

Shatavari

Shatavari is one of the more unknown herbs, however, in India most women incorporate it into their regime. The translation of the plant’s name, shatavari, is “the plant for the woman with 1,000 husbands.” In addition to a balancing effect on women’s hormones, it also helps to support healthy energy levels and a healthy sex drive. It can support fertility and also soothe damaged vaginal tissue. The plant is traditionally consumed before bedtime as a powder mixed into warm drink such as milk.

nutrition tipsImage by maureen lunn

 

Oregano

Oregano that has been used in medicine and cooking for thousands of years and is known to have strong antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Oregano can be used for respiratory tract disorders such as coughs, asthma and bronchitis. It is also used for gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as heartburn and bloating. Other uses include treating menstrual cramps, urinary tract disorders including urinary tract infections (UTIs), headaches, and heart conditions.

Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh flower essence is prescribed for “knowing and trusting in one’s inner strength and resources.” The is one of the most commonly prescribed herbs for menopause and can be helpful to manage hot flashes, fatigue and irritability that sometimes accompany menopause. It also has a mild mood-lifting effect. The root is the most active part of the plant and can be consumed as a tincture, as a tea or in capsules.

Turmeric

Tumeric is often referred to as the “Queen of Spices”. Turmeric helps detoxify the liver, balance cholesterol level, fight allergies, stimulate digestion and boost immunity. Turmeric is helpful in supporting specific women’s health issues such as PMS, breast health, heart health, mood and hot flashes. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.

Holy Basil

Holy basil is great for stress management properties and also known as Tulsi. It can help lower the levels of stress hormones like cortisol in the body. It is very calming and grounding, and can help with mental clarity, especially for mothers who are multitasking and under a lot of stress. Holy basil makes a wonderful tea and can also be taken as a tincture or capsule.

Red Chili Powder

Red chilies are used all over the world. They are made after the green chilies are left to ripen on the plant and then sun dried and ground to chili powder. Chili powder is also a good source of Vitamin A and C, potassium and iron. It also fights against inflammation and boosts the body’s immune system to fight disease.

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