If You Are a Woman, Consider Taking These Vitamins
You’re a boss babe, you own your work schedule, but that means catching your meals when you can. And, depending on what you eat, it is likely that you have some nutritional gaps when it comes to your daily intake of vitamins and minerals.
For women, addressing these shortfalls through supplements (with a big nod toward food-based sources, too) can bring a wealth of benefits. It is important to connect with your doctor to discuss which supplements may best serve you and your specific needs.
Certain supplements may regulate energy during monthly hormonal fluctuations, and others can support your immune system through the worst of cold and flu season.
Your body gets vitamin A from animal products and provitamin A in plant-based foods (most commonly in the form of beta-carotene). Also, Vitamin A has been shown to aid in maintaining healthy vision, especially as you get older, too.
Vitamin A is essential for a healthy immune system because it helps improve the function of white blood cells. White blood cells are responsible for protecting your body from the inside. Vitamin A also plays a part in supporting a healthy metabolism and iron absorption to prevent anemia. Pregnant women need extra Vitamin A for healthy fetal and tissue growth.
Eat: spinach, dairy products, liver, carrots, green leafy vegetables, cantaloupe.
Take: According to the Mayo Clinic, a healthy and varied diet will likely provide you with enough vitamin A. If you are vitamin A deficient, consider adding in a supplement. Be mindful that too much Vitamin A may prove harmful and, if pregnant, can cause birth defects.
If you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant, it’s recommended that you take vitamin B-9, also known as folic acid or folate. Research done at the Mayo Clinic states that when you take certain B-vitamins, you decrease the chances of specific congenital disabilities, particularly in the first trimester. Research also shows that having sufficient Vitamin B-12 during pregnancy can help lower premature birth rates and low birth weight.
Taking a B-12 vitamin is recommended to older women. After age 50, your body does not absorb vitamin B-12 as well, so it is essential to take supplements or get it from fortified foods to prevent deficiency.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency can negatively impact healthy brain and nervous system function, so be sure to get sufficient Vitamin B-12 by eating vitamin-B rich foods or take a daily supplement.
Eat (Folate): cantaloupe, spinach, eggs, oranges, Brussel sprouts, asparagus
Eat (B-12): beef, liver, chicken, yogurt, cheese, salmon, trout, eggs
Take: In addition to these two B-vitamins, there are several other types of vitamin B like riboflavin, niacin, and biotin. If needed, consider a B-Complex supplement that brings all of these supplements together in one easy pill (warning, B-vitamins a stinky!).
“Many women, especially pregnant women, don’t get enough iron from food alone,” says Jamie Hickey, an ISSA-certified nutritionist, and personal trainer. “This can put you at risk for iron-deficiency anemia, a condition that causes your heart to work harder to pump blood so more oxygen can reach the rest of your body.”
“Iron deficiency may lead you to feel tired, dizzy, and weak,” Hickey adds.
Women lose iron every month during menstruation, and as Hickey noted, pregnant women are especially prone to losing iron. The Office on Women’s Health reports that this condition affects one in six pregnant women.
Not every woman needs an iron boost. Research suggests that iron supplementation isn’t recommended for postmenopausal women because as women age, their need for iron goes down. As you age, too much consumption of iron can cause stress on your organs, especially the liver, heart, and pancreas, and may even damage your joints.
Eat: Beef, dark green leafy vegetables, lentils, dried fruit, beans.
Take: You can take an iron supplement on its own, but a more comprehensive approach is to choose a multivitamin that has iron in it.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium is essential for healthy joints and bones. But is calcium easy to absorb? You can add Vitamin D to calcium-rich foods (like milk). Vitamin D helps make calcium more bioavailable (easier to absorb).
Vitamin D is crucial and is being studied for its links to heart health.
“The best way to get vitamin D is through sunlight,” says Melissa Morris, certified sports nutritionist, and professor of nutrition at the University of Tampa.”But that’s tricky, because the current recommendation is to wear sunscreen to lower skin cancer risk, and even if you don’t, living in an area without year-round sunshine means you may not be getting enough exposure to increase vitamin D levels.”
Morris does state that you can get vitamin D through foods, but supplements are best.
Eat: Liver, cheese, egg yolks, tuna, mackerel, salmon, fortified foods like milk and orange juice.
Take: It’s not difficult to find supplements with calcium and vitamin D paired together (consider a multivitamin). You should consider a gummy vitamin supplement to make your daily regime a tasty one.
Check-out these vitamins for women
Looking to purchase your next batch of multivitamins? Check out these brands: