Women may be a different gender from men, so it's not surprising that their vitamin needs too are apart from men's. There are some vitamins developed only with women in mind because they need more nutrients of a certain kind and less of others. Women need to take several vitamin supplements to be at their optimal health level. But what are they? Well, we've listed some nutrients for women for you. Here they are:
- Omega 3 fatty acids: This brings about hormonal balance and keeps your hair, skin and nails healthy right through menopause. You can get your daily dose from salmon, walnuts and flaxseed.
- Magnesium: As one of the essential nutrients for women, magnesium takes care of mood swings during premenstrual tension and eliminates bloating and migraine during a woman's period. It also absorbs calcium and aids bone and teeth development. You can find magnesium in halibut, spinach, nuts and legumes.
- Inositol: This aids ovulation in women and brings relief to PCOS patients. It can be found in kidney beans and red beans and nuts.
- L-arginine: To increase a woman's sex drive, L-arginine is good. You can find it in abundance in milk, dairy products, nuts and poultry.
- Biotin: This B-complex vitamin aids in bringing back the lustre to your skin, hair and nails. One among many nutrients for women, biotin also produces the necessary enzymes for a healthy nervous system and liver. Biotin is found in liver, eggs, cauliflower, salmon and cottage cheese.
Critical vitamins for every woman:
We need vitamins for our daily functioning and our various functions like bone-building, growth and development of body cells, etc. Without them, we would not develop into normal individuals.
So, let's consider all the essential critical vitamins for every woman that she must take regularly:
- Calcium: When, with age, women's bone mass reduces, they need to take more nutrients for women like calcium to prevent the onset of osteoporosis. Normally, women would need about 1,500 mg of calcium per day, depending on their age. This can be achieved by drinking milk, eating milk products like cheese, cream, etc, and drinking pure orange juice that's fortified with calcium or its supplements.
- Vitamin D: Again, when age sets in, women lose some of their ability to convert direct light into Vitamin D, without which, the body will not be able to use calcium. To prevent such a situation, nutrients for women are advised that contain calcium and Vitamin D.
- Iron: Menstruating women need enough iron for their normal functioning and to prevent anaemia sets in. Iron-rich foods include spinach, beans, tofu, poultry, meat, broccoli and citrus fruits. However, if you are menopausal, your need for iron will be less, so a multivitamin without the iron will be good for you.
- Folic acid: If you're pregnant, you need a regular intake of folic acid among other nutrients for women for normal development of babies. Without folic acid, babies' brains and spinal cords are badly affected. Folic acid is present in bread, orange juice, green leafy vegetables, seeds and nuts, corn, carrots and beans.
- Beta-carotene: This is an antioxidant or cancer-fighting ingredient that protects the body from the ill-effects of free radicals. There are several foods rich in beta-carotene, such as guava, papaya, carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, avocado and mangoes. It has several benefits for women, right from glowing skin to healthy hair to heart health, prevention of lung cancer and much more.
- B6 and B12: Older women find it difficult to process Vitamin B-complex like Vitamin D and B12, so it helps them to take them as supplements. However, both these vitamins like any other nutrients for women are important as one age. While Vitamin B6 helps form red blood cells, Vitamin B12 helps manufacture nerve cells and red blood cells. You can find them in foods like chicken, eggs, low-fat curds, milk or raisin bran.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: These natural anti-inflammatory substances help keep women's hearts ticking soundly, particularly as they grow older and their estrogen levels reduce. Tuna, salmon and pure orange juice are good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Vitamin deficiency syndrome in women:
When nutrients for women are present in the body in insufficient amounts, it leads to vitamin deficiency syndrome:
- Vitamin B12: This vitamin is good for neurological functioning and blood cell formation, so it is critical to have an adequate stock of it. However, a vitamin deficiency of B12 causes fatigue, constipation, anaemia, weight loss and loss of appetite. Tingling in the hands and feet, depression and confusion are also common.
- Vitamin C: Without this vitamin, we will end up with scurvy. The body uses this vitamin to make collagen and to metabolize protein, apart from immune functions. As far as nutrients for women go, Vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy, bulimia and joint pain, loss of teeth, fatigue, etc.
- Vitamin D: If you're not eating enough fatty fish, liver, cheese, mushrooms and egg yolks, you could suffer from rickets, osteomalacia or muscle weakness and bone pain and daytime sleeping. This vitamin is essential for maintaining strong bones, healthy muscles and good immune function.
- Iodine: Found largely in ocean fish, spinach, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, iodine is responsible in the production of thyroid hormones that are necessary for performing basic functions. When deficient in our body, these nutrients for women could lead to brain impairment, goitre or thyroid cancer.
- Iron: Iron is necessary for functions like transporting oxygen to the body cells, creating blood cells, and others. Iron deficiency can lead to weakness, fatigue, decreased immune functioning, susceptibility to catching an infection.
- Magnesium: Found in nuts, whole grains, legumes and vegetables, magnesium regulates the body and helps with muscle control, production of energy and getting rid of toxins from the body. A deficiency in this mineral shows up as loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, tingling, cramps, abnormal heart rhythms, coronary spasms, etc.
- Zinc: Oysters, poultry, red meat and breakfast cereals are rich in zinc. These foods are essential nutrients for women as they fight viruses and bacteria, produce cells and help wounds heal. Signs of zinc deficiency include hair loss, loss of appetite, delayed wound healing, inability to taste food, diarrhoea, skin and eyesores, etc.