Vitamins That Are Absolutely Essential for Women
Vitamins and minerals are vital for a healthy mind and body. Research shows several women suffer from least one type of nutrient deficiency, if not more. There are 13 vitamins all women need, making them an essential part of a women’s diet. These include vitamins C, A, D, E, K and B (thiamine and vitamin B12), plus several essential trace minerals and fatty acids too.
It’s believed that around 30 percent of all women are deficient in one or more of these vitamins and minerals. And for majority of the women, this risk just increases with age. Another scary finding? Evaluations show about 75 percent of women are likely to develop nutrient deficiencies in the absence of supplemental multivitamins.
With that in view, let’s evaluate what are the best and most essential vitamins for women in order to prevent nutrition deficiencies and the complications that come with them? Here are the answers to these questions:
Essential Vitamins for Women
Vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition in women create a vicious cycle of diseases. It weakens women’s ability to survive childbirth, makes them more vulnerable to infections, and makes it difficult for them to recover from illnesses. Evidence also shows that post-menopausal women are more vulnerable to diseases like osteoporosis when they suffer from nutrient deficiency especially of vitamin K, vitamin D, and calcium. They are also at a greater risk of losing their vision when they fall short in antioxidants like vitamin A and vitamin C.
Women in their 20s, 40s or 70s should make sure to include these vitamins in their diet:
1. Antioxidant Vitamins (A, C And E)
These fat-soluble antioxidants fight damage caused by free radicals, which is the underlying cause of aging, and heart, eye, skin and brain diseases. Vitamin C improves immunity against infections, colds, and other illnesses. In addition, it also protects skin and eyesight from damage caused by environmental pollution and UV light. Make sure to consume plenty of foods rich in vitamin C. Vitamins A and E work almost similarly to protect healthy cells and halt cell mutations.
A research by the National Eye Institute shows that a diet low in vitamins A, C, and E is a major risk factor for age-related macular degeneration and cataracts in older women. Both vitamins also help protect skin from aging signs and skin cancer.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D can be obtained from certain foods, like eggs, dairy products, and certain mushrooms. However, we get the overwhelming majority of our vitamin D from sun exposure. Both genders are at highly susceptible to vitamin D deficiencies, since more people spend majority time indoors.
Vitamin D is significant for bone/skeletal health, brain functions, preventing mood disorders, and hormonal balance. Since it acts very similar to a hormone once inside the body. Your best bet is to make sure you spend 15–20 minutes in the sunlight at least 5 days of the week. This allows vitamin D to be synthesized when it comes into contact with your skin.
3. Vitamin K
Vitamin K is important for building and maintaining strong bones, blood clotting, and preventing heart diseases. Many women fall short of this valuable nutrient, which is a shame considering studies show that people who increase their intake of vitamin K through diet have a lower risk of cardiovascular mortality.
You’re are more prone to vitamin K deficiency if you’ve been suffering from intestinal problems such as IBS, or inflammatory bowel disease, taking antibiotics for an extended time period, or you take cholesterol-lowering medications. Vitamin K is of two main types, both of which we acquire from our diets. Vitamin K1 is present in vegetables, where as vitamin K2 is found in dairy products. The best way to avoid vitamin K deficiency is to consume plenty of different vegetables, including broccoli, cabbage, fish, and eggs.
4. B Vitamins Including Folate
Vitamin B, especially folate and vitamin B12 help improve woman’s metabolism, preventing exhaustion, and boosting cognitive functions. They help with numerous cellular processes, progression, and energy expenditure because they work with other vitamins to make red blood cells. Plus, they also help turn the calories you eat into usable “fuel.” Folate (also called folic acid) is critical for a healthy pregnancy, developing fetuses, and preventing birth defects. It helps shape the baby’s brain and spinal cord. That’s why folate deficiency is extremely dangerous for pregnant women.
You can get plenty of vitamins from animal products like fish, eggs, meat, yogurt, and milk. Older women, especially those with anemia, should consult a doctor to eliminate the risk of vitamin B deficiency. Foods especially high in folate include leafy greens, asparagus, citrus fruits, melon, and beans.
You need to be careful about food selection and take a nutrient-dense diet to meet your body’s vitamin requirements. However, if your doctor advises you to take vitamin supplements, do not forgo them.