Feasting goes feminine…
We're used to hearing about diet crazes that force us away from our fave fodder and encourage us to become grain-nibbling gerbils. Well get your knife and fork ready the latest foodie fad doesn't involve starving yourself and, even better, it's just for girls. This diet aims to help with female-specific health complaints, from PMS to low libido. So, what's it all about? We became diet detectives to find out…
The 'Love' lowdown
Unlike other diets, the Love Diet is doesn't tell you what you can't eat and it's not a weight-loss program. It's more a set of dietary guidelines for women to adhere to, with information about which foods contain ingredients that can help with common female health complaints. Just select your complaint and eat the food than helps alleviate it…
The magic ingredients
- Phytosterols for breast cancer
These are chemicals structurally similar to the female sex hormone oestrogen. They are capable of mimicking hormone activity in the human body, therefore possibly reducing the risk of oestrogen-sensitive cancers such as breast, endometrial and ovarian cancers.
Find in: soybeans, legumes, tofu and textured vegetable protein.
- Serotonin for pre-menstrual stress
It's estimated that 40 percent of women experience physical and emotional symptoms of PMS severe enough to affect their everyday routine. This is caused by the changes in your hormones and brain, driven by the chemical, serotonin.
Find in: pasta, potatoes, cereal and bread.
- Selenium for fertility
This mineral is vital for ensuring the production of healthy ova, to increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Find in: brown rice, meat, offal and porridge.
- Lignans for ovarian cancer
Similar to phytosterols, lignans block oestrogen activity in cells, possibly reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
Find in: flaxseed and whole grains.
- Phytoestrogens for menopause
If you're menopausal, phytoestrogens are recommended to help with the hormone levels in your body.
Find in: linseed, sesame seeds, garlic, hummus.
- Tryptophan for depression
When you've got the blues, your body needs to increase its levels of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that temporarily helps with the symptoms of depression. It's incredibly easy to increase the levels of this chemical in your body.
Find in: turkey, walnuts, almonds, cheddar and black-eyed peas.
- Nitric oxide for low libido
This is the chemical that allows blood to enter the sex organs it relaxes the blood vessels when we become aroused. If there is not enough of it, your sex drive will suffer.
Find in: peanuts, Brazil nuts, seafood, milk and chickpeas.
- Pyridoxine for morning sickness
Many pregnant women suffer from extreme nausea and vomiting, known as "morning sickness". Pyridoxine (also known as Vitamin B6) is essential for the formation of red blood cells, antibodies and neurotransmitters and can help alleviate symptoms of morning sickness.
Find in: fish, pork, eggs, vegemite, brown rice, avocado and bananas.
Old wives' tales
The following foods are historically reputed to help with fertility, but it's not known how reliable they are:
- Pomegranates: the seeds contain oestrogen so are thought to help with fertility.
- Ice cream: high fat dairy foods have been linked to helping women get pregnant.
- Liver: is high in vitamin A, which maintains the health of the internal organs of the body, including the uterus.
- Broccoli: the dark green colour of this veg is said to indicate its rich levels of folic acid