Women may claim to have a tough state of mind and it is true that they have enough mental strength which allows them to cope up with any situation. But science says that women are more vulnerable to several health conditions. And this is true. Perhaps, this is the reason why God has bestowed them immense mental strength to enable them to cope up with adversities. And this is why, Nature has created substances called vitamins to contribute to women’s health. Daily intake of vitamins in adequate amounts can add to a woman’s well-being.
Sadly, different studies have found that most women do not get the required amounts of nutrients in their food. The need for specific vitamins and quality protein varies at different stages of a woman’s life. Vitamins help to slow down aging while providing support to the body’s immune system, increasing energy levels and supporting the balancing of the female hormones. Each vitamin has a different function in the body and you cannot get all the vitamins in a single food item. Our body can synthesize only vitamin D and this means that you will need to obtain vitamins from the foods you consume or from supplements.
Here is the list of essential vitamins which are needed to support women’s health:
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A, in the form of retinol and the carotenoids, act as antioxidants. Antioxidants entangle the free radicals and snatch their destructive capacity away. This brings down the chronic illness risk and slows down the body’s aging process. Some scientists also believe that antioxidants may promote the functioning of the immune system when the body is facing stress. Foods rich in beta-carotene are cantaloupe, apricots, pumpkin and carrots. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body.
- Vitamin C: It is pretty good for the immune system. It helps to stabilize the energy levels. It is one of the most important vitamins for women because it speeds up healing. Research shows that it may play an important role in preventing heart diseases, cancer and cataracts in women. Food sources of vitamin C include tomato, oranges, broccoli, pepper, strawberries, grapefruit and grapefruit juice, kiwi, pepper and potato.
- Vitamin E: This is linked to reproductive health in women. Vitamin E also helps promote healthy skin, nails and hair. Research has shown that it may prevent heart disease, cataracts and even cancer. Vitamin E may slow down the occurrence of aging in the body. The dietary sources of vitamin E include wheat germ, peanut butter, margarine, hazelnuts, safflower oil, corn oil, cod-liver oil and sunflower seeds.
- B Vitamins: All B complex vitamins benefit a woman’s health. More specifically, vitamins like B6, B12 and folic acid are particularly considered vital for a woman’s health. Pregnant women need folic acid to bring down the risk of birth defects like spina bifida (neural tube defect in a newborn).
Vitamin B6: It helps to regulate hormone levels in women. It supports metabolism and brain function as well. The deficiency of Vitamin B6 can lead to a certain type of anemia. The dietary sources of this vitamin include meats, avocado, oatmeal, banana, poultry, beans, cereal and seeds.
Vitamin B12: It helps retain nerve function in the body. It also helps retain memory, relieves depression and may prevent heart disease in later life. The dietary sources of vitamin B12 include meat, milk, eggs, cheese, fish and yogurt.
Folate and Folic Acid: It is important to women of child bearing age as it prevents birth defects during early pregnancy. Folic acid prevents neural tube or spinal cord birth defects in the first 28 days of pregnancy. It also plays an important role in preventing anemia and in promoting normal cell growth. Folate is found in abundance in vegetables like spinach and greens, citrus fruits, legumes and beans like black and kidney beans and chickpeas, melons, strawberries, fortified grains, organ meats, nutritional yeast and eggs.
- Vitamin D: It helps in the formation of bones and teeth. In women this is very important for the prevention of osteoporosis. In younger women, researchers have found that having adequate amounts of Vitamin D may help to curb pre-menstrual symptoms. There has been some research that shows that Vitamin D may be helpful in lowering the chances of getting affected with colon cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. It also stimulates calcium production and calcium is required for bone health. Fish can be considered as a source of Vitamin D. And definitely, sunshine does remain as the unparalleled source of vitamin D.
- Vitamin K: It helps in the production of red blood cells. What some people do not know is that it also helps to form bones and that it may also be beneficial in preventing heart diseases in women. The finest food sources of vitamin K include fish oil, cooked spinach, broccoli, soybean oil, alfalfa and green leafy vegetables.
Recommended Dietary Allowance
- Retinol: 600 micro gram/d
- Beta Carotene: 2400 micro gram/d
- Vitamin B2: 2.5mg/d
- Vitamin C: 40 mg/d
- Folic Acid: 100-400 micro gram/d
- Vitamin B12: 1 micro gram/d
- Vitamin E: 0.8 mg/d
The dosage and combination needed will vary from woman to woman. Each one of these vitamins has their own benefits and purpose. Consult a physician before taking any supplements.
Women are the backbones of their families. A woman plays an important role in shaping the culture and the health of her family. Leading a disciplined life in terms of proper diet and maintaining a fitness level, has an effect on the rest of the family members as well. She will act as an inspiration to others and will influence others to follow her culture. In simple words, you need to stay healthy in order to keep others healthy! And in this respect, don’t forget your vitamins!