Essential Vitamins and Minerals Women Need
Regardless of your activity level women need certain nutrients to maintain good health. The requirements change as women age, if you work out and lead an active lifestyle there are essential vitamins and minerals you may want to consider taking.
In this article, I will share with you the vitamins I have learned are essential for women, and the ones that women need.
Getting the right vitamins and minerals will not only help you stay healthy many of these can help strengthen your immune system.
If you read the guidelines from many popular health websites they all recommend a list of vitamins and minerals they consider essential, these include:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B12
Why are these vitamins and minerals important?
Because, each one can have a positive health benefit that includes giving your great, hair, glowing skin, strong bones, and more energy.
Most women especially those who are active may not be getting enough of these vitamins and minerals, even though your diet is good, you may not be getting enough f the nutrients with food alone, which is where supplementation can help.
Many companies sell multivitamins that contain the nutrients you need, some of them make formulas made just for women.
Let’s take a look at how these vitamins and minerals can help maintain a healthy body.
Magnesium is a mineral found in plants, animals, sea, and earth. Most of the magnesium in our body is found in the bones.
Magnesium can help boost energy and athletic performance, it helps ensure your muscles get enough blood sugar. The other benefit is that it helps eliminate lactic acid buildup in the muscles which causes soreness after exercise.
Supplementing with magnesium can help women of all ages and help elderly people who suffer from chronic disease.
Magnesium has been shown to reduce inflammation in the bones and joints.
Foods that contain magnesium include:
- Dark chocolate
- Whole grains
Women of all ages need calcium, this is one of the most important minerals women need to help maintain strong bones, a healthy heart and it even helps promote weight loss.
If you read the ingredients in many weight loss supplements you will notice many of the contain calcium, these help with weight loss. A lack of calcium causes the release of parathyroid hormone causing this can cause the production of excess body fat and prevents it from breaking down.
Women with calcium deficiencies affect women as they get older and is one of the main causes of the onset of osteoporosis.
Vitamin D is needed for optimum calcium absorption.
Besides taking supplements that contain calcium there are several foods you can consume that are rich in calcium, these include most dairy products, including cheese, milk, and yogurt. Beans and lentils are also a good source of calcium as well as sardines and salmon.
Folic (folate) may help prevent birth defects and has also been shown to prevent the risk of hypertension (High blood pressure).
Folic acid is a B vitamin found in green leafy vegetables, fruits, and beans.
Many dietary supplements contain folic acid.
Getting enough folic acid in your diet is important because it is responsible for helping your body produce and maintain healthy cells. Women who do not get enough folic acid run the risk of becoming anemic.
Folic acid may help resist changes in DNA and may prevent the development of cancer.
Zinc is a mineral that is essential for our health, it can help boost our immune system by fighting toxins and foreign substances that may get you sick. This mineral helps develop something called T-cells which help your body fight off virus-infected and cancerous cells.
Zinc helps your body heal faster
Zinc interacts with the body’s blood platelets and helps with blood clotting, thus is ensures proper healing when you get a cut or scratched.
Zinc helps regulate blood sugar
We all know how prevalent type II diabetes has become, this is caused by irregular insulin levels.
Zinc helps regulate insulin storage and regulates its release in the pancreas. A deficiency in zinc can affect insulin levels which is often responsible for changes in your appetite and fluctuating blood sugar levels.
Zinc helps metabolize protein, carbs, and fat if your body lacks zinc you feel lethargic with no energy and you may find it hard to lose weight.
Foods rich in zin include oysters, red meat, cooked lobster, and fortified breakfast cereals.
- oysters, 3 ounces (oz): 74 mg
- beef patty, 3 oz: 5.3 mg
- Alaska king crab, 3 oz: 6.5 mg
- fortified breakfast cereal, 3/4 cup serving: 3.8 mg
- cooked lobster, 3 oz: 3.4 mg
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that you need for optimal health. It is also considered a steroid hormone because it helps speed up your metabolism by improving the absorption of calcium and phosphorous.
Vitamin D is used to treat osteomalacia, peripheral artery disease, and slow the progression of cancer.
Vitamin D is found in dairy products, fish, oysters, orange juice, oats and beef liver. The best source of Vitamin D comes from sun exposure. If you are not getting enough sun which is common in the winter months, you may want to consider taking a supplement that contains Vitamin D.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a Vitamin essential for optimal health, the body needs it to form collagen in the bones, blood vessels and helps with overall healing. It also acts as a powerful antioxidant that may help protect your body from free radicals caused by intense workouts, breaking down food, and when exposed to harmful chemicals and radiation.
Because our body does not produce vitamin C you need to get it from nutrient-rich foods or supplements.
Foods that contain vitamin C include oranges, grapefruit, berries, broccoli, and spinach.
Vitamin B12 contains the mineral cobalt, this vitamin benefits the central nervous system if you are deficient in Vitamin B12 most cognitive functions will suffer.
When it comes to working out vitamin B12 is essential because it helps your body convert carbohydrates into glucose.
This is why it’s important to consume healthy carbs before your workout, this will ensure you have enough energy, if not this will lead to fatigue and a poor training session.