5 Essential Vitamins That Every Woman Should-Have.Vitamins are essential for health. They play a role in immune function, bone health, and cardiovascular and blood sugar regulation.
However, women’s nutritional needs vary throughout their lives. Some requirements are specific to women, while others change as they age or develop certain health issues.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that can help protect your body from disease and improve your overall health. It helps your body absorb calcium, which promotes strong bones and teeth, and it also has a role in immune function.
It’s especially important for women during menopause, when estrogen levels decline. If you’re at risk of deficiency, talk to your doctor about a vitamin D supplement.
The sun’s rays are the primary source of vitamin D, but you can get it from other foods and supplements, too. For example, fatty fish, mushrooms and fortified dairy products are all good sources of vitamin D.
Folate (vitamin B9) is an essential nutrient for healthy body growth and development. It helps your body make red blood cells and DNA.
You can get folate from foods, such as leafy vegetables, citrus fruit, nuts and legumes. You can also get folic acid from supplements.
If you don’t eat enough folate or take a supplement, you may have a condition called folate deficiency. This can lead to a serious blood disorder called megaloblastic anemia.
Getting adequate folic acid before and during pregnancy can greatly reduce your risk of having a baby with neural tube defects. This is because folic acid helps prevent spina bifida and other birth defects.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant that helps protect your cells from oxidative damage. It’s also an important nutrient for your immune system and skin health.
It’s important to consume this nutrient in sufficient amounts daily to avoid a deficiency. It’s naturally present in citrus fruits and other vegetables.
In addition to its immune-boosting benefits, vitamin C can help relieve stress. It reduces the levels of free radicals in your body and lowers your heart rate and blood pressure.
It’s also linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and stroke. One study found that people who took 700 mg of vitamin C a day for 10 years had a 25% lower risk of developing heart disease.
- Vitamin K
Vitamin K is essential for a variety of health-related functions, including blood clotting and bone formation. It also helps maintain healthy bones by forming proteins that help to keep them strong.
However, many people don’t get enough vitamin K from their diets, and this is a problem for women. They need more vitamin K than men to support proper heart and bone health, especially when they are pregnant or breast-feeding.
The main dietary sources of vitamin K are green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli and kale. Other foods that are good sources include fermented foods, such as natto and yogurt, and vitamin K2-rich animal products.
- Vitamin B12
B12, or cyanocobalamin, keeps your nerves, brain and blood cells healthy. It also helps your body make DNA, the genetic material in all of your cells.
This water-soluble vitamin is naturally found in meat, fish and poultry. It’s fortified in some foods and dietary supplements.
Adult women should have 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 daily. This level is safe, and your doctor can monitor it.
You can get vitamin B12 from fortified foods, dietary supplements, and certain medications. It can also be found in milk, cheese and eggs.
Your stomach makes intrinsic factor, a protein that’s needed for vitamin B12 absorption. Some people, especially those with gastroesophageal reflux disease or peptic ulcer disease, have problems absorbing vitamin B12. Other conditions like surgery that causes malabsorption or drugs that suppress stomach acid, such as proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers, can also prevent you from absorbing vitamin B12. It is not a common problem but can be serious.