For many years in the Indian culture, certain foods and plants have been believed to support women’s health. Today, those foods and plants are becoming even more mainstream, so here are a few to note.
Amla: For starters, Amla berry, also known as Indian Gooseberry, has been used historically for helping to support energy levels and for better iron absorption—due to its bioflavonoid and vitamin C content—and for use in conjunction with and for digesting curry, which is very high in naturally occurring iron. Among other things, Amla is also noted for supporting healthy fertility, a healthy urinary system and healthy skin and hair. Amla is also rich in B vitamins as well as calcium. Additionally, Amla helps the body to naturally eliminate toxins, and it supports kidney, urinary and uterine health.
Curry leaves: In historic Indian culture, Amla and curry went hand-in-hand to bolster women’s health. Curry is high in iron, but growing curry in the shade of the Amla tree was found to bolster the iron bioavailability of curry leaves. Curry leaves were also well tolerated by women.
Guava fruit and leaves: Brimming with energy-supporting B vitamins, tropical guava fruit and leaves were often consumed by women in the Indian culture. Guava is also beneficial to thyroid health—highly important in proper hormone production and absorption. Guava also contains significant amounts of zinc. For women, zinc increases the conversion of the fatty acid gamma linolenic acid into prostaglandin E1, which balances the effects of prolactin, an important hormone in women’s health. Guava is also packed with vitamin C to help with proper absorption of iron—which guava contains—and serving as a powerful antioxidant.
Lemon peel: Especially high in folic acid, lemon peel is a powerful food for women’s health, especially those of child-bearing age and the health of their unborn children. Then there’s the calcium content in lemon peel, which helps to support proper hormone secretion as well as bone health and more.
Holy basil/tulsi: Known as tulsi, holy basil touts significant health benefits, including soothing stress; promoting blood sugar balance; immune system support; gastrointestinal health; anti-aging and antioxidant power; heart health; joint health; cellular health; adrenal support; hormonal and reproductive equilibrium and much more—all important areas for women’s health. Holy basil contains a high concentration of B vitamins, vitamins A and C, and minerals including zinc, manganese, iron and calcium as well as aromatic plant compounds called eugenol and caryophyllene that have adaptogenic properties.
Of course, there are other foods and plants that have historically, in the Indian culture, been used to boost women’s health, but these are a few to know about.