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Diet may play a significant role in causing or preventing some of the most prevalent health issues for women, including many types of cancer, menstruation and menopause, pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet for Women’s Health

There have been numerous nutritional studies looking at the benefits of specific plant-based foods for women’s health:

Women at high risk for heart disease who eat peanut butter every day may have a lower risk of suffering from a heart attack than women who do not eat peanut butter. Dried apples may reduce LDL cholesterol in postmenopausal women. A plant-based diet may help reduce the likelihood of diabetes in women. Mint tea has been found to lower testosterone in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Eating a mere cup of oatmeal daily, or two handfuls of nuts each week, appears to extend a woman’s life as much as four hours of weekly jogging. Plant-based diets may help prevent genitourinary infections. Cranberries have been shown to suppress the growth of cancer in vitro, including cancers of the breast and ovary.

What’s more, eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily, along with moderate walking exercise six days a week, was linked to a significant survival advantage among breast cancer patients.

Spices have proven helpful in alleviating symptoms of certain cancers. Turmeric ointment, for example, may help reduce symptoms related to cancers of the vulva, skin, mouth, and ulcerating breast. Ginger has been shown to ease nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness, and it may be as effective as ibuprofen in reducing menstrual cramps.

Potential Impact of Meat and Dairy on Women’s Health

The sex steroid hormones in meat have been associated with female infertility, and the buildup of cholesterol in pelvic arteries may cause sexual problems in women. Urinary tract infections from E. coli may be caused by poultry consumption or handling.

Researchers have also found that the presence of bovine leukemia virus DNA in breast tissues was strongly linked with diagnosed and confirmed breast cancer—as many as 37% of breast cancer diagnoses.

 

Image Credit: Pixabay. This image has been modified.

Topic summary contributed by Dawn Handschuh and Linda

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