It seems that we cannot make it any more without vitamin supplements, so it is important to know your “vitamin-meter.” In the lines below, read about women’s vitamin essentials.
Women of today are health-conscious and prefer healthy diets. But what is a healthy diet?
A healthy diet is one that includes the right combination of vitamins taken through food or supplemented through food supplements. Women at all ages, regardless of their weight and activity level, need to intake a wide variety of vitamins to reach optimal health and prevent different types of health conditions.
Vitamins are organic compounds that help different parts of the human body function properly.
Each of the different vitamins performs a specific function. Vitamin deficiency often leads to some serious health problems. This is why it is essential to get vitamins from the foods you eat or, if necessary, from vitamin supplements.
Here are the top 10 vitamins women need:
1. Vitamin A
Women of all ages need vitamin A as an antioxidant which aids in building and strengthening bones, teeth, soft tissues, skin and mucous membranes. Vitamin A also reduces chronic ailments, improves sight, slows down the aging process and boosts the immune system.
Foods sources of vitamin A include these: carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkin, apricots, tomatoes, watermelon, guava, broccoli, kale, papaya, peaches, red peppers, spinach, eggs, liver, milk and ‘fortified’ cereals.
2. Vitamin B2
Vitamin B2, aka riboflavin, is essential for good health, normal growth of children and metabolism. It is energy booster and strengthens the immune system while reducing tingling and numbness, anxiety, stress and fatigue. A lack of vitamin B2 can affect metabolism and influence the immune system and neural functions. The symptoms of this deficiency are pale eyes and tongue, a sore throat, mouth ulcers, cracks on the lips, dry hair, wrinkles and itchy skin.
Some of the foods high in B2 vitamin are: organ meats, cheese, milk, yogurt, leafy vegetables, yeast, eggs, cereals, whole grains, soybeans, almonds, nuts and mushrooms.
3. Vitamin B6
Also known as pyridoxine, vitamin B6 is an essential vitamin much needed for a healthy immune system. This particular vitamin also helps the body produce hormones and brain chemicals, which in turn helps reduce depression, heart disease and memory problems. It can also regulate your blood glucose level. Pregnant women are advised to eat foods with vitamin B6 to reduce morning sickness. When levels of vitamin B6 go down in the body, it can cause anemia.
Some of the best foods for a healthy dose of vitamin B6 are: avocados, fortified cereals, bananas, meats, beans, fish, oatmeal, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.
4. Vitamin B7
Vitamin B7, which stands for biotin, is required for synthesis of fatty acids and cell growth. This vitamin keeps the sweat glands, hair and skin healthy. In fact, it promotes hair growth and helps treat brittle nails.
Notably, this vitamin is required for bone growth and bone marrow and helps maintain normal cholesterol levels. Although vitamin B7 deficiency is rarely seen, it does occur, and then it can cause brittle hair, rashes, abnormal heart functioning, lethargy, anemia, and mild depression.
Some of the best food choices to get enough of vitamin B7 are: fish, sweet potatoes, almonds, carrots, bananas, cantaloupe, yellow fruits, green leafy vegetables, lentils, brown rice, peppers, egg yolks, soybeans, oatmeal, milk, cheese, yogurt and nuts.
5. Vitamin B9
Vitamin B9, or folic acid, is another member of the B-complex that is essential for every woman as it helps prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, depression, cancer and memory loss.
Importantly, it enhances brain health and cellular functioning and improves fertility and fetal development at the time of pregnancy. A deficiency of vitamin B9 in expecting women can cause neural tube defects in the baby, such as spina bifida.
Foods rich in vitamin B9 include: dark leafy green vegetables, orange juice, asparagus, melons, strawberries, fortified grains, legumes, beans, nutritional yeast and eggs.
6. Vitamin B12
B12 is another essential vitamin that every woman should have. It is important for metabolism, normal cell division and protein synthesis. This vitamin helps prevent heart disease, memory loss and anemia. It also can be used as an antidepressant and to help maintain healthy nerve system and brain functioning.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause irritability, confusion and depression. It can also cause tongue and mouth inflammation.
Best food sources of vitamin B12 are these: cheese, eggs, fish, meat, milk, yogurt and fortified breakfast cereals.
7. Vitamin C
C vitamin is best known as an immunity booster. It has very many health benefits, so it helps women to keep their ‘fountain of youth’ running. It easily speeds up healing processes, promotes tissue growth and reduces the risk of certain types of cancer, heart diseases and tissue damages. It also plays a key role in the formation of red blood cells.
Among the best vitamin C-rich foods are these: broccoli, grapefruits, kiwi, oranges, peppers, potatoes, sprouts, strawberries, and ripe tomatoes.
8. Vitamin D
Why is vitamin D in this list?
t is here because this vitamin is a fat-soluble vitamin that promotes the absorption of calcium, which plays a key role in keeping the bones healthy and strong. Vitamin D also reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and various types of cancer.
It can also help reduce pre-menstrual syndrome symptoms (PMS) and protect your vision. A deficiency of this vitamin may drastically weaken your bones and contribute to early osteoporosis.
Even short daily exposure to sunlight can give your body the required minimal dose of vitamin D. For most light-tanned people, an exposure of 10-15 minutes is sufficient to produce enough vitamin D in the body.
In addition to lying in the sun, you can eat foods that are rich in vitamin D such as: fatty fish, fortified milk, liver and eggs.
9. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is also called the ‘cosmetic vitamin’ since it has anti-aging properties that fight cell damage and slow down age-related declines, especially skin and hair ones, so it is often included in hair and skin care products. This vitamin also helps prevent heart disease, cataracts, memory loss and certain types of cancer.
Foods rich in vitamin E include these: hazelnuts, wheat germ, almonds, spinach, margarine, corn oil, cod liver oil, peanut butter, safflower oil and sunflower seeds.
10. Vitamin K
Last but not least, vitamin K plays a central role in promoting strong bones, normal blood clotting, and in reducing the risk of various heart diseases. This particular vitamin is also necessary for neat immune functioning and energy boosting.
Some of the best food sources of vitamin K are these: green cruciferous vegetables, whole grain food products, soybean oil and fish oil.
TO SUM UP…
Including at least 5 servings of organic and fresh fruit and vegetables in your daily diet plan is an excellent way to get all the essential vitamins. If you feel that you are not getting the required daily dosages of vitamins from the foods on your menu, you can always take vitamin supplements. But before taking any supplement, consult your doctor to be on the safe side.
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