The 5 Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Women
Do you remember the days of running a marathon on barely any sleep, no breakfast, and a pile of junk food from the night before, and still making it to the top 5? Remember when we could treat our bodies, or in this case, neglect our bodies from ingesting nutrient dense foods and a good night’s sleep to promote optimal functioning for the next day? I do, but I react a whole LOT differently from those choices that I made back then, then I would now.
As women, and as our bodies age, we require many different health conscious decisions in order to run that marathon, show up for our business, take care of our children, and remain a functioning member of society. This is why I wanted to share my top 5 essential vitamins and minerals for the health and longevity of women.
Why Women Need Iron?
Iron is an essential mineral found in the transportation of hemoglobin, and promotes highly dense oxygen in the body. Iron binds to our red blood cells, which then allows hemoglobin to sit on top of the iron molecule, in order to bind oxygen, which then will nourish our cells with highly oxygenated blood. We can not physically live without an abundance of iron.
Women especially may be more sensitive to lack of iron, as we go through different physiological changes each month in comparison to our male counterparts. For instance, women on average lose approximately 80 millilitres of blood during menstruation each month. This can differ for many women, and depending on our own bodies demands, this can be a significant loss.
Symptoms of Low Iron Levels
Symptoms of low iron include, low energy levels, fatigue, pale skin, loss of focus, disorientation, cold extremities, and peripheral pain.
How to Increase Iron Levels?
Ideally we replenish our iron reserves with natural whole foods like red meats, and dark leafy greens, but sometimes we require a more simple, and affordable method. Speaking to your doctor about adding an iron supplement if needed, could be very beneficial to your overall health.
Why Women Need Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient in the requirement of DNA synthesis, red blood cell formation, and neurological functioning. These are all a must for busy women that want to function at maximum energy capacity.
Symptoms of Low B12
Symptoms of low B12 include, but are not limited to fatigue, weakness, confusion, depression, low mood, weight loss and constipation.
How to Increase B12 Levels?
Foods like fish and red meat are an excellent source of B12, as well as poultry and eggs. If you are vegan, or vegetarian, fortified breakfast cereals and fortified nutritional yeasts are some of the only Vitamin B12 rich foods to recommend.
Why Women Need Calcium?
Calcium is said to be the most abundant mineral in the body, and is especially essential for the longevity of women. Women require an excess of calcium especially during childbearing age. Preeclampsia is a serious medical condition which causes high blood pressure in pregnant women, and research suggests higher levels of calcium may reduce the risk of this dangerous medical condition. Calcium is also the main mineral contributing to highly dense bone. Menopausal women are said to lose bone mass at higher levels per year in the first years of menopause. It is important to increase your calcium intake as women transitioning through this phase of your life.
Symptoms of Low Calcium
Symptoms of low calcium can include muscle cramping, tingling, spasms and more dangerously seizures, or heart palpitations.
How to Increase Calcium Levels?
Calcium is said to require high levels of vitamin D for proper absorption through the gut lining. Increasing your vitamin D levels can help calcium absorption into the blood and help to prevent the symptoms listed above. Increasing your nutritional intake from products like milk, yogurt, and cheese or adding a multivitamin into your daily routine, can also greatly reduce the risk of hypocalcemia.
Why Women Need Vitamin D?
Vitamin D plays an important role in the modulation of cell growth, optimal immune function and reduction of bone density due to its relationship with calcium absorption. Women require high levels of Vitamin D for overall health in order to prevent osteoporosis, and common cancers like colorectal and breast cancer.
Symptoms of Low Vitamin D
Symptoms of low vitamin D include fatigue, bone and back pain, tiredness, impaired wound healing, hair loss and bone loss.
How to Increase Vitamin D levels
Getting regular exercise outdoors to get moderate exposure to the sun (with sunscreen of course) is important. Eating a healthy diet full of vitamin-D rich foods, like salmon, tuna and moderate amounts of dairy is also a great way to increase your Vitamin D levels.
Why Women Need Omega-3?
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for optimal brain, heart, lung, immune and endocrine system functioning. Proper intake of Omega 3’s during pregnancy and breastfeeding can improve your baby’s health, and promote optimal birth weight, length of gestational period and help produce highly nutritious breast milk.
Symptoms of Low Omega-3 Levels
Low omega 3 levels in the body can result in rashy, itchy and swollen skin, low brain functioning, brittle nails and hair, fatigue, and troubles sleeping.
How to Increase Omega 3 Levels?
Omega 3 levels can be increased from ingestion of wild salmon, fish oils, flaxseed and dark leafy greens. The increasing cost of seafood can be a barrier to optimal Omega 3 levels, so incorporating a supplement can also be a great way to prevent Omega 3 deficiency in women.
Tell me, what's your daily supplement? Reply in comments.
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- Health Onwards