If you want to stay healthy, you have to give your body what it needs. That means providing a steady supply of vitamins and minerals to help everything from bone health to circulation and even the look and feel of your skin. And if you’re a woman, the need for vitamins is even greater.
Most of the vitamins you need should come through your diet. But sometimes, you need to take supplements to make sure you’re getting everything you need.
Here, we’ll give you the vitamins and vitamin groups that every woman needs to take to support your health and create strong bodies and immune systems.
B vitamins largely help your body convert food into the fuel it needs to function, while offering other benefits. There are eight B vitamins, and while all are important, there are three that are particularly important for women: folic acid, B6, and B12.
Folic acid helps your spinal cord and brain. It’s very important for pregnant women, since it can help prevent spina bifida and other birth defects. You can get folic acid from leafy green vegetables like spinach, citrus fruits, legumes and beans, eggs, and fortified grains.
B6 and B12 help your body’s metabolism. You don’t want too much B6, so focus on getting it from your diet, with foods like fish, beans, cereal and oatmeal, chicken, and potatoes, among others. You can get B12 with foods like dairy products, eggs, and fish.
Women are vulnerable to osteoporosis, or a gradual weakening of your bones. Vitamin D helps build healthy bones by facilitating the development and movement of calcium and phosphorus. You can get vitamin D from fortified dairy products, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, etc.), orange juice, beef liver, and cereals.
Antioxidants are thought to be helpful in boosting your immune system, slowing aging, and generally lowering the risk for a lot of health issues. There are three vitamins in this group: A, C, and E.
Vitamin A comes from beta-carotene, which is found in yellow and orange fruits and vegetables (like carrots, papaya, pumpkins, apricots, cantaloupe, and peaches) as well as tomatoes, kale, and spinach.
Citrus fruits are heavy in vitamin C, but you can also eat tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli, peppers, and potatoes. Plus, your body processes vitamin C very well, so you can take up to 2,000 mg a day (which is a lot).
Vitamin E helps keep your cells healthy, and can be found in safflower oil, corn oil, sunflower seeds, and peanut butter/peanut butter oil.
Finally, vitamin K helps your blood clot better (especially for older women) and assists in keeping your bones strong. You can get plenty of vitamin K from leafy green vegetables, soybeans/soybean oil, fish oil, and cooked spinach.
Getting the Vitamins You Need
A nutritionist or dietician can help you put together a balanced diet that has the vitamins and minerals you need, but depending on your circumstances (i.e. your nutritional needs, special health issues, pregnancy), you may need to supplement.
Talk to your doctor before starting any supplement regimen, and focus on including a lot of healthy, vitamin-rich foods in your diet as much as possible.
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