6 Nutrients and Vitamins for Women

vitamins for women
Prevention of osteoporosis, relief of symptoms related to premenstrual syndrome, production of collagen, reduction of the risk of diabetes, etc… Here are 6 vitamins and nutrients that women need to maintain good health.

Calcium

Calcium is a mineral salt that the human body essentially needs, in particular because it helps in the formation and maintenance of bones and teeth. It is all the more important for women, because it would prevent osteoporosis and relieve symptoms related to premenstrual syndrome, in addition to preventing fractures in the elderly. In the case of osteoporosis, calcium can slow down the decrease in bone mass (bone loss) and thus slow the progression of the disease. Research suggests that PMS may be partly linked to calcium deficiency. The results of a clinical study confirmed that taking calcium for 3 cycles reduced the fatigue and depression generally experienced during the premenstrual period 1,2.

The recommended daily intake for women aged 19 to 49 is 1000 mg of calcium and 1200 mg for women aged 50 and over. As the body cannot absorb more than 500 mg at a time, it is advisable to distribute the suggested dose over the whole day. For maximum effectiveness, calcium should be consumed with a vitamin D intake of 400 to 1,000 IU for people 49 and younger, and 800 to 2,000 IU for those 50 and older.

You will find a good calcium intake in dairy products (milk, cheese, yoghurt), fish (salmon, tuna, herring), calcium-enriched soy drinks (soya), oilseeds (sunflower, sesame), legumes, nuts, green vegetables (parsley, dandelion, watercress, spinach, fennel, broccoli, green beans, green cabbage, rhubarb) and many fruits (blackcurrants, oranges, currants, blackberries, rhubarb).

Vitamin D

Like calcium, vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and teeth because their intake must be combined for optimal effectiveness. Vitamin D helps regulate the level of calcium in the blood while reducing its elimination through the urine. It would have an impact on the prevention of osteoporosis and it would slow its progression. Vitamin D is made up of fat-soluble substances, also known as provitamins D. Ergocalciferol (D2 – vegetable form) and cholecalciferol (D3 – animal form) included in these provitamins are transformed by the body into calcitriol, under hormonal form. This compound would also make it possible to control cell proliferation and differentiation as well as the secretion of insulin 1. Finally, studies show that vitamin D plays a significant role in diabetes.

In order not to suffer from vitamin D deficiency, the required daily intake is 600 IU for people between 1 and 70 years old and 800 IU for people over 70 years old.
Studies show that sun exposure can provide 80-90% of the recommended amount. 2 to 3 exposures per week with sunscreen, for 10 to 15 minutes between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., would be sufficient.

You will also find a significant amount of vitamin D in many foods such as fish (tuna, salmon, swordfish), vitamin D fortified soy beverages and milk.

Folic acid (vitamin B9)

Folic acid or vitamin B9, is part of the B vitamin complex. This vitamin is essential for the growth of the fetus in pregnant women. It promotes the proper development of the baby’s spine, brain and skull, especially during the first 4 weeks of pregnancy. Folic acid would also reduce the risk of neural tube defects (=  primitive nervous system). These occur when there are problems with the closure of the neural tube in the first weeks of pregnancy. The fetus can then develop birth defects in the spine, brain or skull. These abnormalities can cripple the child for life or cause death. Some studies have also established a link between a high intake of vitamin B9 and a reduced risk of contracting breast cancer 1 .

In anticipation of pregnancy, it is recommended to take 600 µg of folic acid daily. At other times, the suggested dose is 400 mcg per day. Organ meats (veal, pork), legumes and dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, romaine lettuce) are all foods that are a good source of folic acid.

The iron

Iron is essential to the body because it promotes the transport of oxygen in all cells. Also present in myoglobin, a substance similar to hemoglobin, iron also allows the muscles to store oxygen reserves. It is also involved in the production of the main source of body energy, adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Iron deficiency is the most common deficiency in the world. The WHO claims that 25% of the population suffers from anemia, half of which is due to a lack of iron 1,2 .

A woman between the ages of 19 and 50 should consume 18 mg daily, 8 mg for those over 51, 27 mg for pregnant women and 9 mg for women over 18 who are breastfeeding. Foods can provide iron in different forms: heme and non-heme. The difference lies mainly in the average absorption rate which is around 25% for heme iron and around 5% for non-heme iron. The best dietary sources of iron are red meat, poultry, fish and seafood because they contain both heme and non-heme iron. Dried fruits, molasses, whole grains, legumes, green vegetables, shelled fruits, seeds, eggs and dairy products contain only non-heme iron.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is used by the body for over a hundred functions, one of the main ones being the production of collagen. Essential to the human body, collagen contributes to the formation of connective tissue in the skin, ligaments and bones. Vitamin C also promotes the maintenance of the immune system, in particular by the healing of wounds, the formation of red blood cells and the absorption of iron by the body. Vitamin C also has a significant antioxidant effect. The benefits of vitamin C have also been proven in the prevention of colds, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, cataracts and macular degeneration.

The daily recommended amount is 75 mg for women 19 years older, 110 mg for smokers, 80 mg for pregnant women and 115 mg for breastfeeding women. The consumption of 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day suggested by Canada’s Food Guide is sufficient to meet this intake.

Vitamin C is mainly found in colored and preferably raw fruits and vegetables: bell pepper, orange, lemon, grapefruit, kiwi, papaya, mango, raspberry, strawberry, broccoli, tomato, etc.

Magnesium

Essential to the body, magnesium takes part in more than 300 metabolic reactions in the body. Half of the magnesium is found in the bones and teeth while the other half is distributed in the muscles, the liver and other soft tissues. Among these multiple functions, it contributes, among other things, to maintaining heart rate, lipid metabolism, regulating blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Combined with vitamin B6, magnesium would reduce the discomfort associated with premenstrual syndrome. 1It would also help relieve migraines and pain related to menstruation. Studies have also established a link between blood magnesium levels and insulin resistance. A sufficient intake of magnesium would reduce insulin resistance, a precursor disorder of diabetes. Finally, magnesium would play a significant role in maintaining bone density, which gives it preventive properties linked to osteoporosis.

In order to have an adequate daily intake, women between the ages of 19 and 30 should consume 310 mg of magnesium and women aged 31 and over, 320 mg. Pregnant women aged between 19 and 30 should consume 350 mg and 360 mg for those aged 31 and over.
Magnesium is mainly found in legumes, seeds, nuts, whole grains, wheat germ, dark green leafy vegetables and brewer’s yeast.

 

Abbas Jahangir

I am a researcher and writer with a background in food and nutritional science. I am the founder of Foodstrend.com, our reputable online platform offering scientifically-backed articles on health, food, nutrition, kitchen tips, recipes, diet, and fitness. With a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information, we strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. Join us on Foodstrend.com's journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *