Regardless of gender, everyone needs to get their daily dose of nutrients and vitamins. But because of gender-specific biological functions, like menstruation and menopause, women may require more supply of certain vitamins than their male counterparts. If you’re ready, let’s take a look at 5 essential vitamins for women.
Natural Food Sources before Dietary Supplements
Of course it’s preferable to get your nutrients from healthy food rather than supplements. The reality is that most of us are not eating enough good food to get our recommended vitamins, and we must look to supplements to fill in the gap.
According to a 2009 CDC (Center for Disease Control) report, majority of Americans failed to meet the national dietary objectives, which suggested people to fill their plates with 75% fruits and 50% veggies.
If you’re like most of us Health Slackers then you’re part of the statistics and should really read the rest of this article.
5 Vitamins That Are Beneficial for Women of All Ages
As you might know, iron carries oxygen and carbon dioxide from the lungs to the different parts of your body. It also plays a role in the digestion of food and other biological processes.
Women in their reproductive years will have higher iron requirements in order to cope with the blood loss during menstrual period. Provided there’s no medical health condition to worry about, a woman would usually lose around 30ml to 40 ml of blood—60ml to 100ml of blood volume is already considered heavy menstruation.
What happens if a pregnant woman is deficient in iron?
Apparently iron deficiency among pregnant women could result to preterm delivery or a baby with low birth weight. What’s more, it could directly affect the baby’s motor and mental functions.
Just be careful, though. Too much iron can be toxic.
It almost sounds unfair, but studies show that women are highly prone to osteoporosis than men. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis plagues roughly 200 million women all over the world.
So, why is this? It’s because women lose bone mass more quickly than males, especially as they increase in age.
Aside from making your bones tough, some studies suggest that calcium coupled with vitamin D is a great recipe for fighting major diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer. And remember P.M.S. (premenstrual syndrome)? Scientists also say that calcium carbonate is an effective anti-P.M.S. vitamin.
If you want to go natural, top food sources of calcium and vitamin D are: spinach, salmon, okra, kale, soy beans, and sardines.
3. Vitamin B-Complex
Your B-complex vitamins are thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotic, folic acid (I’ll discuss more of this later), and cobalamin. Some of the reasons why B vitamins are good for you are:
- They encourage proper cell growth.
- They’re great immune system boosters.
- They kick ass when it comes to depression, stress and other mood problems.
- And, ladies, they promote healthier skin.
Eggs, dairy products, whole grains, turkey, and dark, leafy veggies are just some of the food sources of vitamin B-complex that you could include in your diet.
4. Folate (or Folic Acid)
This vitamin is especially helpful for pregnant women to prevent their babies from having major birth defects, such as anencephaly (undeveloped brain) and spina bifida (incomplete closing of the fetus’ spinal column).
Based on the report of the CDC, if only women take the recommended daily dosage of folate—around 400mcg—50% to 70% of NTDs (neural tube defects) cases could be prevented.
Here’s another negative effect of folate deficiency. One study found out that low levels of folic acid in the blood could actually put women at risk for cervical dysplasia, a pre-cancerous health condition that causes abnormal cell proliferation on the superficial layer of the cervix.
5. Omega 3
Omega 3 is a type of essential fatty acid that has numerous health benefits. For one, it reduces inflammation in the body. It’s also believed to be helpful in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease among women, especially after the start of menopause, by making the blood vessels more flexible.
Warning: Individuals who are under anticoagulant therapy is usually not recommended to take Omega 3 supplements or eat foods packed with this nutrient. Omega 3 is a blood thinner and can cause bleeding.
Before throwing your money on just any dietary supplements out in the market, make sure to consult your doctor first. And don’t forget—eat a healthy, well-balanced diet first before considering supplements.