Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are indispensable for our bodies to function correctly. Nutrient deficiencies in women create a cascade of negative health effects and play a key role in the development of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. It’s important to make sure you avoid nutrient deficiency by eating plenty of vitamins- and mineral-rich foods and supplementing when needed.
Vitamins and Minerals for Women: The Essentials
Variables such as food allergies, special diets, and age determine what vitamins and minerals are most critical to you, but there are a few key vitamins and minerals that every woman needs for optimum health:
1. The Essential Vitamins
There are some different vitamins that are crucial for women to be taking on a regular basis, beginning with the B Complex vitamins, as well as vitamins like K and D. Here is an overview of vitamins women should be taking preferably on a daily basis, or getting these nutrients through natural food sources:
B Complex Vitamins
The B Complex is a group of eight vitamins that work together as a team to support several critical roles in the body. B vitamins are known for their aid in the production of red blood cells, regulation of cholesterol, the support of immune and nervous system functions, promotion of cellular cell growth, and the maintenance of healthy skin, hair, and muscles. Those who take B vitamins regularly will see the benefit of improved memory, lessened depression and anxiety, and a reduction in the symptoms associated with PMS.
B vitamin deficiencies are not that common, but those who find themselves under a lot of stress or who consume carb- and sugar-rich diets may have decreased levels. Some signs of a vitamin B deficiency include anemia, depression, fatigue, balance issues, memory problems, muscle cramps and weakness, tingling or numbness in the limbs, or mouth soreness.
Foods such as fish, dairy, beans, whole grains, and dark leafy greens are rich sources. B vitamins can be found in standalone supplements or as part of a multivitamin. It’s generally recommended to take a B supplement if you are a woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding or if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) boosts the immune system and aids in cell creation. Found in whole grains, beans, spinach, kale, and peanuts.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is important for the production of red blood cells. You can get it from milk, yogurt, eggs, almonds, Brussel sprouts, spinach, and wild rice.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) boots your good cholesterol, which in turn helps to lower the bad cholesterol. Niacin may help to treat acne. It can be found in milk, eggs, red meat, beans, green vegetables, and yeast.
Also known as niacin, vitamin B3 is essential for a healthy metabolism and digestive tract. You can have stronger skin with greater elasticity and moisture retention abilities.
Potatoes and tuna are affordable and easy ways to obtain your daily dose, or you can eat tomatoes for a powerful combination of vitamins B3 and C.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) helps to reduce the signs of aging. It’s also responsible for the production of sex hormones and stress-related hormones. Find it in yogurt, eggs, meat, legumes, and avocados.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) helps to regulate levels of a particular amino acid associated with heart disease. It also plays an important role in sleep patterns and mood due to its ability to help the body produce certain neurotransmitters. Some studies suggest that B6 may be an effective anti-inflammatory. Chicken, turkey, salmon, tuna, lentils, sunflower seeds, and brown rice are just a few good food sources of vitamin B6.
If you suffer from dry skin conditions, are concerned about your cognitive health or feel lethargic, you need to eat foods loaded with B6, such as spinach and chicken breast.
Tuna, pistachio nuts, and pinto beans are also rich in this vital nutrient, which can protect your eye health, reduce your blood pressure and regulate sleep cycles.
Vitamin B7 (Biotin) helps to support healthy hair, skin, and nails. Vitamin B may also help control glucose levels in people with diabetes. Vitamin B7 is a critical nutrient during pregnancy. It can be found in fish, pork, chicken, egg yolks, cauliflower, potatoes, and nuts.
Vitamin B9 (Folate), also known as folic acid, is especially important for pregnant women as it supports fetal growth and helps to prevent neurological congenital disabilities. Studies have shown that B9 can potentially curb depression and may serve as a preventative to memory loss. B9 can be found in abundance in leafy greens, beets, beans, milk, salmon, and root vegetables.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) is vital in the production of red blood cells. It works with vitamin B9 to help iron create hemoglobin. You can get it from fish, pork, beef, eggs, and dairy. Because B12 is derived only from animal sources, those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet will probably find it necessary to take a supplement.
Vitamin D, sometimes considered the Sunshine Vitamin, is a key component in the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Considered essential for bone health, vitamin D may lessen the likelihood of fractures and potentially prevent osteoporosis. In pregnant women, low vitamin D levels are linked to difficulties such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. Low vitamin D levels are also attributed to a higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
Vitamin D deficiency occurs in both men and women and can be caused by any number of contributing factors. The deficiency is most common amongst certain high-risk groups such as women who use sunscreen, the elderly, people with darker skin tones, or those who live in polluted or urban areas.
Food sources that are rich in vitamin D include tuna, salmon, sardines, eggs, mushrooms, cod liver oil and fortified products such as milk and yogurt, soy products, and fortified cereals. Supplements are available and are typically recommended for everyone.
13 Common Diseases Caused by Vitamin D Deficiency
1. Osteoporosis – An adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D are important for maintaining bone density and strength. A lack of vitamin D causes calcium-depleted bone, which further weakens the bones and increases the risk of fractures.
2. Asthma – Vitamin D deficiency is linked to lower lung functions and worse asthma control, especially in children. Vitamin D may improve asthma control by blocking inflammation-causing proteins in the lung, as well as increasing production of another protein which has anti-inflammatory effects.
3. Heart health – Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to a higher risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) as well as increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
4. Inflammation – It has been found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with inflammation, a negative response of the immune system. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a number of inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and type 1 diabetes.
5. Cholesterol – Vitamin D regulates cholesterol levels in the blood: it has been shown that without adequate sun exposure, vitamin D precursors turn to cholesterol instead of vitamin D.
6. Allergies – Studies show that children who had lower levels of vitamin D are more likely to have multiple food allergies.
7. Influenza – Some studies showed a link between lack of vitamin D and common respiratory infections, and indicate that people with the lowest vitamin D levels report having significantly more cases of cold and flu than those with higher levels.
8. Depression – Vitamin D deficiency is linked to depression: receptors for vitamin D are present on many areas of the brain and are involved in numerous brain processes, making it likely that this vitamin might be associated with depression and that vitamin D supplements might play an important role in treating depression.
9. Type-2 Diabetes – Studies have demonstrated correlations between low vitamin D levels and the development of type 2 diabetes. Different studies provide evidence that vitamin D may contribute to glucose tolerance through its effects on insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity.
10. Oral health – Several recent reports demonstrate a significant association between periodontal health and the intake of vitamin D. Also elderly patients with low vitamin D levels have a higher rate of tooth loss than those with high vitamin D levels.
11. Rheumatoid arthritis – Low vitamin D may play a role in developing rheumatoid arthritis. Studies have found that women who get more vitamin D seem less likely to get rheumatoid arthritis. Also among people who already have rheumatoid arthritis, those with low vitamin D levels tend to have more active symptoms.
12. Cancer – Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to cancer: a certain study indicated that more than 75% of people with a variety of cancers have low levels of vitamin D, and the lowest levels are associated with more advanced cancers. However additional research is required to determine whether higher vitamin D levels are related to lower cancer incidence or death rates.
13. Dementia – Dementia is a chronic and progressive syndrome. It’s an umbrella term, under which several diseases and conditions are classified. The most prevalent type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. More…
Vitamin K is a group of compounds, derived mostly from leafy greens, that plays a critical role in the blood’s clotting mechanism. Vitamin K also plays a role in the binding of calcium in bones and other tissue. Osteoporosis is strongly associated with low levels of vitamin K, as is heart disease.
A vitamin K deficiency can cause symptoms such as heavy menstrual flow, anemia, easy bruising, frequent nosebleeds, and gum bleeding. Vitamin K deficiencies are not that common. You’re at a higher risk if you suffer from liver damage, an inflammatory bowel disease, cystic fibrosis, or if you are taking any form of anticoagulant.
Many people don’t realize how incredible this vitamin can improve skin health and appearance. You can even out your skin tone and texture by eating vitamin K-rich foods, including eggs, Brussels sprouts, and cheese.
The best natural food source of vitamin K is leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale, but it can also be found in other foods such as beans and soybeans, broccoli, asparagus, strawberries, and meats. Because of its fat solubility, vitamin K is better absorbed when consumed with fats such as oil or butter. Though supplements are available, because of their effect on coagulation, you’re generally not advised to take them unless directed to by your doctor.
Top 10 Vitamin K Foods
Looking for a list of foods that contain vitamin K? This essential vitamin is found primarily in green vegetables, fruits, fermented foods and animal products, which makes it easy to meet your needs through a healthy and well-balanced diet. Here are a few of the top vitamin K foods:
- Green leafy vegetables, such as kale — ½ cup: 444 micrograms (over 100 percent DV)
- Natto (fermented soy) — 2 ounces: 500 micrograms (over 100 percent DV)
- Spring onions (scallions) — ½ cup: 103 micrograms (over 100 percent DV)
- Brussels sprouts — ½ cup: 78 micrograms (98 percent DV)
- Cabbage — ½ cup: 82 micrograms (over 100 percent DV)
- Broccoli — ½ cup: 46 micrograms (58 percent DV)
- Dairy (fermented) — ½ cup: 10 micrograms (10 percent DV)
- Prunes — ½ cup: 52 micrograms (65 percent DV)
- Cucumbers — 1 medium: 49 micrograms (61 percent DV)
- Dried basil — 1 tablespoon: 36 micrograms (45 percent DV)
Panic Attacks and Anxiety Episodes Linked to Vitamin Deficiencies in Groundbreaking Study
With approximately 40 million adults across the United States experiencing anxiety each year, scientists and researchers have dedicated their careers to trying to better understand this condition. Despite this work, we are still somewhat unclear on what actually causes this condition to occur.
Characterized by feelings of nervousness and restlessness, increased heart rate, hyperventilation, sweating, trembling, difficulty concentrating and uncontrolled worry, it has the ability to impact every area of one’s life. There are many theories regarding the root cause of the condition, including genetics, brain chemistry, environmental factors or other medical factors and/or disease, however, nothing has been proven definitively. Instead, the scientific community continues to explore these leads further in the hope of an answer.
The research team analyzed the nutritional levels of 21 participants with varying levels of anxiety, panic attacks, and hyperventilation episodes. While some experienced minor attacks, manageable at home, others were severe enough to result in emergency room visits. They tested these participants for a number of different nutritional deficiencies or abnormalities in the hope of identifying a pattern. At the same time, they ran a similar set of tests on a control group of 20 people, comparing the two.
The data showed that those who were experiencing anxiety were found to have lower levels of B6 and Iron than those in the healthy group. Why is this important? One of the most accepted theories regarding the development of anxiety is that it is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, with serotonin seen as a key player. This is due to the fact that serotonin is one of the ‘happiness hormones’, responsible for triggering the reward and pleasure centers of the brain. More…
2. Antioxidants to Include
Antioxidants are important protectors against the cell damage caused by harmful chemical compounds known as free radicals. Most researchers believe this damage to be an inciting factor in the development of many diseases. Research has also shown antioxidants to be a powerful treatment and preventative for the inflammatory symptoms of endometriosis.
Decades of research has suggested that a diet high in antioxidant-rich foods helps to protect against diseases; however, the use of supplements has not been found to provide the same benefits. More research is needed to understand why, but it’s best to try and get your antioxidants from natural sources.
Because each antioxidant serves a different purpose and generally isn’t interchangeable with one another, a varied diet of fruits and vegetables, both raw and cooked, is the key to ensuring that you intake the proper amounts of antioxidants.
Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system, promotes skin health and cellular regeneration, and helps prevent a host of chronic illnesses. Vitamin A is extremely important during embryonic development. Beta-carotene is the form of vitamin A that is found in plants and plays an important role in preventing age-related blindness.
Vitamin A deficiency is quite rare in the United States but is still common amongst those living in developing nations. Vitamin A deficiency greatly increases the severity of infections. The earliest sign of a vitamin A deficiency is a difficulty or an inability to see in dark light, an early warning sign for a condition called xerophthalmia, which is a progressive disease that causes extreme dryness, inflammation, and tissue damage to the cornea.
Though it is available in supplements, vitamin A is found naturally is many foods. Cod liver oil is the most plentiful source, but it is also found in high concentrations in liver, ghee, red peppers, and sweet potatoes, just to name a few.
Health Benefits And Best Food Sources Of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is an important component of a healthy diet. This fat-soluble vitamin is essential for strong bones and healthy visions, skin, and body tissue. It also works as a protective antioxidant to fight free radicals that are programmed to create disease.
Without adequate amounts of vitamin A, you’ll have a tough time keeping your tissues, organs, and immune system healthy.
Cell growth and division relies on vitamin A; supporting the healthy function of your heart, lungs, liver, and other major organs, according to experts at LiveScience.
Vitamin A Benefits
To have a healthy body, you need adequate amounts of vitamin A each day. Healthy Eating SFGate recommends 700 micrograms for women each day and 900 for men.
Moreover, because of the importance of this vitamin in a baby’s development, nursing and pregnant women need, even more, approximately 800 micrograms and 1100, respectively.
Other Benefits Include:
- Prevents Urinary Stones – Vitamin A plays a role in ensuring the health of the lining or your urinary tract, which reduces the chances of infection or the formation of urinary stones.
- Strong Teeth and Bones – This vitamin helps protect your teeth by producing dentin, a hard layer just beneath the surface of your teeth. It also supports healthy bones.
- Strengthens Vision – According to experts at Organicfacts.net, vitamin A helps keep your eyes moist, improves night vision, and grants your eyes the ability to naturally adjust to light changes. Studies also show adequate amounts of this vitamin reduce the risk of developing cataracts and muscular degeneration; both associated with aging.
- Boosts Immunity – Vitamin A keeps mucus membranes moist, increases white cell function, and triggers your lymphocytic response against disease-causing free radicals. This vitamin may also block out germs and help battle against infections.
- Enhanced Skin Health – By battling free radicals, vitamin A prevents damage to your skin, hair, and nails. This essential vitamin also helps keep your skin soft and healthy looking, so it doesn’t get dry or develop a skin condition like eczema.
- Deters Cancer And Acne – Vitamin A is an extremely powerful antioxidant that can help lower the risk of various cancers. It also flushes out toxins that can trigger acne.
- Reduces The Natural Signs Of Aging – You will find vitamin A in many skin creams because of its wrinkle reduction properties; reducing the signs of fine lines, dark spots, and other skin discoloration. This vitamin helps to improve the overall visual health of your skin.
- Strengthens Reproductive Health – Many health experts recommend increasing vitamin A to improve reproductive function.
Vitamin A Sources
The two main types of vitamin A have preformed vitamin A (retinol), and pro-vitamin A. Retinol is in animal products like fortified milk, cheese, yogurt, milk, eggs, kidney, and liver. You’ll find pro-vitamin A in plant foods, like fresh vegetables and fruit, according to livescience.com.
The most common form of pro-vitamin A is beta-carotene, which is found in dark green and brightly colored foods. Found in beef liver, mangoes, and broccoli, vitamin A regulates blood flow to the skin and promotes collagen synthesis. You can also get your daily share by eating red peppers, sweet potatoes, and spinach.
• Great Sources Of Vitamin A
• Sweet potato cooked with skin (1 med – 1050 mcg)
• Pumpkin (1/2 cup – 1000 mcg)
• Carrots (1 cup – 1000 mcg)
• Butternut squash (1 cup – 1200 mcg)
• Kale (1/2 cup – 500 mcg)
• Spinach (1 cup – 1000 mcg)
• Romaine lettuce (1 cup – 260 mcg)
• Red peppers (1/2 cup – 100 mcg)
• Dried apricots (1/4 cup – 200 mcg)
• Cantaloupe (1 cup 250 mcg)
• Cheddar cheese (1.5 ounce – 150 mcg)
• Skim milk (1 cup – 160 mcg)
• Soy milk (1 cup – 100 mcg)
• Tuna (2.5 ounce – 550 mcg)
• Salmon (2.5 – 115 mcg)
• Beef liver (2.5 ounce – 5800 mcg)
• Chicken liver (2.5 ounce – 3200 mcg)
• Eggs (2 med – 200 mcg)
• Cod liver oil (1 tsp – 1300 mcg)
In developed countries, vitamin A deficiency is very rare. By eating a well-balanced diet with lean meat, milk products, and plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, you’ll give your body this essential vitamin to support optimal health for many years to come.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) boots the immune system, fight against cancer, heart disease, and works with other antioxidants to protect against the effects of age-related macular degeneration. It’s a requirement for the biosynthesis of collagen — an essential component in the regeneration of skin, blood vessels, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. Studies have shown that vitamin C alongside vitamin E may prevent pre-eclampsia in pregnant women.
Serious vitamin C deficiency is quite rare, though cigarette smoking and stress can both lead to lowered levels. The most common signs of a vitamin C deficiency include feelings of fatigue, muscular weakness, muscle and/or joint aches, rashes on the legs, or bleeding gums. Prolonged deficiency of vitamin A can lead to scurvy, a rare but severe disease.
Although commonly associated with citrus fruits, this antioxidant is found in red peppers, broccoli, papaya, and kohlrabi as well. You must consume adequate amounts of this water-soluble vitamin daily to reap the hydrating and healing benefits associated with it.
Vitamin C is easily found in many natural food sources. Apples, berries, tomatoes, melons, red and green peppers, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and citrus are a few rich sources of vitamin C. Supplements are available as a standalone or as part of a multivitamin.
9 Early Warnings Your Body Is Low in Vitamin C
- Yourr gums swell and bleed easily.
- Yourr hair is dry with lots of split ends.
- Your frequently have nosebleeds.
- Your have dry, rough, and red skin.
- Your’re prone to bruising.
- Yourr wounds heal slowly.
- Your have painful, swollen joints.
- Your’re susceptible to colds and flu.
- Your’re in low spirits.
Vitamin E is essential for the support of healthy skin and hair. It plays a critical role in helping to naturally balance hormonal levels, making it a powerful combatant to PMS symptoms by reducing anxiety, cramping, and cravings. According to at least one study, vitamin E appears to minimize some side effects of menopause, such as hot flashes.
This antioxidant can help the skin to heal from sun exposure by protecting the cell membranes. Natural sources include nuts and dairy products.
Vitamin E can be found as a standalone supplement or as part of a multivitamin. There are quite a few foods that provide vitamin E. Nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetables, and vegetable-derived oils are the richest sources. Look to sunflower seeds, dry roasted almonds, peanut butter, or boiled spinach for high concentrations.
3. Critical Minerals
Minerals are micronutrients that are required by the body to perform necessary functions. Their role in a woman’s health is just as important as that of vitamins. Here are a few vitally important minerals:
Calcium is well-known for its importance in bone health, but it also serves essential roles in regulating blood pressure and heartbeat, lowing cholesterol levels, hormone secretion, and helping with muscular function. Alongside other key nutrients, calcium helps to protect against diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
Calcium deficiency is extremely common, possibly due to the requirement of vitamin D and magnesium for its absorption in the body. There is a wide range of symptoms associated with calcium deficiency. Fainting, muscle cramps in the legs and back, difficulty swallowing, tingling or numbness of the mouth or extremities are just a few. Prolonged calcium deficiency can lead to the development of osteoporosis or rickets.
Foods that are rich in this electrolyte include raw milk, yogurt or kefir, leafy greens, broccoli, and beans. You can find calcium in supplements and multivitamins. Remember to be sure that you are also getting adequate amounts of magnesium and vitamin D to ensure that the body can absorb the calcium.
Iodine is an extremely important nutrient for women. It promotes healthy ovulation and reduces estrogen levels — useful for those suffering from estrogen excess symptoms such as ovarian cysts, breast pain, or extreme PMS symptoms. Iodine is also a critical component in the production and regulation of thyroid hormones.
The most common sign of deficiency is breast tenderness. Women who are pregnant or who are between the ages of 40 to 49 are the most at-risk for iodine deficiency. Vegans and vegetarians are also likely to experience this deficiency.
Seaweed, codfish, yogurt, iodized salt, and milk are good natural food sources of iodine. Many multivitamins contain iodine in the form of sodium iodide or potassium iodide. You can also find it in food-based supplements containing kelp.
Iron is critical to the body’s ability to create hemoglobin and transport oxygen within the blood throughout the body. Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies globally, and women are particularly at risk, especially those who are pregnant or menstruating.
Animal proteins such as eggs, fish, and poultry are the richest food sources of iron. Beans and leafy green vegetables are also good options. Supplements are available and are suggested for women who are pregnant.
Magnesium is important for many processes in a woman’s body. Magnesium is just as important as calcium in support of healthy bones. It also plays a crucial role in metabolic regulation and the synthesis of proteins. Taking magnesium provides a boost to the immune system.
Magnesium deficiency can show itself in the form of irregular heartbeat, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, constipation, or muscle cramps.
Many mineral supplements and multivitamins contain magnesium. The best food sources of magnesium are almonds, cashews, peanuts, spinach, legumes such as black beans and edamame, and whole grains.
Seven Vitamins And Nutrients To Reduce The Signs Of Aging
It is imperative for you to attack aging from the inside out to improve the quality of your looks and reduce imperfections. Vitamins and supplements are great ways to kick-start your regimen.
1. Coenzyme Q10.
2. B Vitamins.
3. Essential Fatty Acids.
4. Estrogen and Progesterone.
5. All types of berries.
6. Vitamin E.
7. Foods that have high protein counts.
In combination with a healthy diet, it is vital to infuse your body with essential nutrients. Incorporate each of these seven minerals into your daily routine and reap the benefits of beautiful skin and longevity.
Eight Vitamin And Mineral Suggestions For Maximum Muscle Growth
Vitamins and supplements are an important component of building muscle. The below article highlights eight important tips regarding vitamins and supplements that help to encourage the largest amount of muscle growth that is possible. Continue reading to learn about them.
1. Consume glutamine.
2. Consume thermogenics wisely.
3. Mix up the antioxidants you consume.
4. Try arginine.
5. Maximize the number of minerals you consume.
6. Consume tyrosine.
7. Try ZMA.
8. Do not forget to consume Vitamin C.
Now that you have read these eight tips aim to implement them into your daily diet. If you do, you are certain to notice improvements in your body extremely quickly.