We know that vitamins are part of a healthy diet. Maintaining a balanced diet is the first line of defense against vitamin deficiencies. However, when you don’t know which foods contain which vitamins, or are unsure if you have a deficiency that requires supplementation, how do you stay on top of it? It’s said that most multivitamins won’t address a vitamin deficiency. So, let’s take a look at the must-have vitamins and minerals for women of all ages.
1. Vitamin D
Around forty percent of people in the United States don’t receive enough sunlight to produce the vitamin D their bodies needs. Vitamin D is the vessel that helps our bodies absorb calcium better to ensure our bone health is optimal. You can tell you’re deficient in vitamin D because you’re always getting sick, experience bone or back pain, or even bone or hair loss. Make sure you’re choosing a multivitamin that includes vitamin D as its ingredients.
GR8 Tip: Also, bulk up your diet with foods like egg yolks, fatty fish, and fortified products to increase your vitamin D levels.
Not surprisingly, around 40 percent of the U.S. population doesn’t get enough calcium from their diets. In conjunction with the lack of Vitamin D, this means most people don’t get the vitamins and minerals they need to support healthy bones. Women, in particular, start losing bone density earlier, which is why calcium is such as vital mineral to add to their wellness plan.
GR8 Tip: Incorporate calcium into your diet and multivitamin as soon as possible. Calcium-rich foods include broccoli, kale, nuts, beans, and fortified cereals. Remember, your diet won’t be sufficient enough to reach the recommended calcium intake per day, so look for a supplement to complement your diet.
Most women learn about folate or folic acid when they’re pregnant. Mostly because folate is critical in aiding in the fetus developing and preventing birth defects. But, folate is also vital for non-pregnant women as it helps in fighting depression, lowering inflammation, and supporting healthy nails.
GR8 Tip: Find folate in avocados, citrus, dark leafy greens, and beans.
While iron is a must-have mineral in women’s multivitamins, not everyone needs the same amount of iron. This hefty mineral helps increase energy levels, promote brain function, and support the production of healthy red blood cells. Most red meat eaters receive an adequate amount of iron. However, menstruating women, young women going through puberty, or pregnant women might need additional iron. Also, vegans and vegetarians must incorporate iron in their supplementation to ensure they meet the daily recommended amounts.
GR8 Tips: For those staying away from red meats, make sure to eat iron-rich foods such as spinach, shellfish, legumes, and quinoa. Consult with your doctor to make sure you find out the right amount of iron you need.
5. B Vitamins
When it comes to vitamins, B vitamins are the powerhouse for women’s health. A pack of Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12 helps keep your energy levels high and healthy. Essentially, B vitamins are the fuel that makes it possible for you to meet everyday life demands. Vitamins B6 and B12, in particular, help reduce a woman’s risk of heart disease, and some believe vitamin B6 can help reduce PMS symptoms. Unfortunately, researchers are still trying to prove this connection.
GR8 Tip: Making sure B vitamins are part of your multivitamins is the first step. Then, add more foods such as chickpeas, bananas, potatoes, and oatmeal to boost your B vitamin levels.
Most women know about the role magnesium plays in maintaining bone health and supporting energy production. However, magnesium also helps reduce stress by calming our nervous system, might help ease sleeping problems, balances blood sugar levels, and helps regulate muscle function. Yet, the majority of women have a magnesium deficiency because they don’t include it in their diets or supplements.
GR8 Tip: Add more foods such as pumpkin seeds, soybeans, tofu, Brazilian nuts, and spinach to your diet to increase magnesium levels.
7. Vitamin K
Older women can benefit significantly from incorporating vitamin K into their supplements. Vitamin K helps maintain healthy bones and helps blood clot, two critical needs for older adults. Additionally, pregnant women, and women who are breastfeeding will also need additional supplementation of vitamin K.
GR8 Tip: Make sure to include foods such as soybean oil, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cooked spinach, and alfalfa.
Foods vs. Multivitamins
Keep in mind most healthcare professionals recommend getting your daily vitamin and mineral intake from your diet. However, as we all know, figuring out the amount of these nutrients in our diets can be a challenge. Discuss with your doctor the right supplements you need to maintain a healthy body.