Women’s bodies need specific nutrients to carry out specific functions. Eating a well-balanced diet will provide us with most of the nutrients we need, but sometimes many of us are not certain just which food we should eat. Here are just six of the top vitamins every woman should be consuming and the foods that contain them:
1. Iron – Iron is a mineral that improves your energy and carries oxygen throughout your body. It is essential for cell growth and hormones. Iron supports immune function and maintains muscle function. It is one of the most common deficiencies in adult females. Good sources of iron can be found in animal-based foods such as lean meat, poultry, and seafood. Plant-based iron can be found naturally in spinach, lentils, white beans, kidney beans, and peas. Nuts and dried fruits are also a good source for iron.
2. Biotin – Biotin, also known as vitamin H or B7, promotes healthy hair, skin and nails while also supporting nerves, digestive, cardiovascular, and metabolic function. It is a crucial nutrient during pregnancy for embryonic growth as well as during breast feeding for a healthier baby. Biotin promotes healthy brain function, reduces blood sugar levels, and controls diabetes. It is excellent for fighting inflammation within the body. Biotin-rich foods include liver, eggs, salmon, sweet potatoes, grains and nuts, and fruits and vegetables.
3. Magnesium – Magnesium supports heart health and boosts mood. It relieves symptoms of PMS and reduces muscle weakness and cramps. Every organ in your body requires magnesium to function. As much as magnesium is found in foods, it is estimated that half of Americans have a magnesium deficiency according to Oregon State University. Foods that are high in fiber provide magnesium such as leafy green vegetables, nuts, legumes, seeds, and whole grains. Water - tap, mineral, and bottled - are all good sources of magnesium as well.
4. B12 – B12 promotes brain health and function, nervous system, and blood cells. It improves energy and mood. B12 is naturally found in animal products and some fortified foods as well as in dietary supplements. Foods that naturally promote vitamin B12 are meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. As you age, your stomach absorbs less B12 so it’s important to make sure you are getting enough of this important nutrient. The recommended daily amount for women is 2.4 micrograms (mcg) for adults, 2.6 mcg for expecting mothers, and 2.8 mcg for breastfeeding women.
5. Calcium – Calcium is an essential mineral in women’s health. It builds and maintains strong, healthy bones and aids in proper heart, nerve and muscle function. Research shows 1 to 2 percent of a woman’s body weight is calcium. Regardless of nutrition, females have lower bone density than males putting us at a higher risk for developing osteoporosis, especially as we age. Calcium is found in such foods as orange juice, diary products, fortified foods, nuts, and green leafy vegetables like kale.
6. Vitamin D – Supports brain, muscle and immune function. It is good for cardiovascular health, and it helps our bodies to absorb calcium. Vitamin D helps our immune system to fight off viruses and bacteria, and to maintain bone and teeth health. It is a fat-soluble vitamin; Our bodies naturally produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is found in milk and other fortified foods. Women of color are more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency and may need to take a supplement. Please talk to your doctor abou this.
Isabella Boston is a multi-talented writer and the founder of Bella’s Attic Studio. She is well-versed in content writing, copywriting, and social media strategies with a focus on health and wellness, fashion and beauty, and natural healing as it pertains to the body, mind, and the soul. She is also a romance writer and the author of Passion of Flames.