Whether you’re a working professional or a mother, a developing teen or in your 30s, there are so many physical, mental, and emotional challenges that modern women face each day. Therefore it is important to get enough levels of essential nutrients to keep you going.
However, not all of us get enough of crucial vitamins and minerals for optimal health. In fact, only 1 in 10 Americans eats enough of vegetables and fruits according to the latest US report published in the July 2015 issue of the CDC Journal of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. (1)
But a woman who faces different physiological changes and challenges (thanks PMS) throughout her life, must make sure that her body is prepared both physically and internally to overcome these challenges. And the only way to do this is to be healthy inside and out.
So here’s a list of nutrients that are most beneficial to women:1. Iron. You need the mineral iron for strength and vigor. And that’s why it is truly a supplement not to miss. Otherwise, you’ll always feel tired and exhausted for no reason at all.
Its role in your body: Iron helps bring oxygen throughout your body. It also promotes metabolism, growth, cell function, and normal production of certain hormones. Plus you don’t want to develop anemia which can lead to hair loss. Speaking of hair loss, iron definitely has other crucial functions especially for a woman. It’s important to keep a healthy head of hair, robust cells, skin, and strong fingernails. (2)
Recommended Intake: For women 14-18 years, the RDA is 15 mg. While women ages 19-50 should take 18 mg of iron. 50+ women should take only 8 mg a day.
2. Calcium. Yes and this isn’t just for older gals. Women at any age must have sufficient levels of calcium in her body. One thing that we want to avoid is developing osteoporosis. This is a very scary disease as it literally, slowly makes your bones brittle and prone to fracture without you knowing it. Hence called the “silent disease”. The only way to prevent this is to take calcium supplements if you’re not getting enough of it from your diet.
Take note this is not only for older women - as it attacks at any age. Also we want to invest in strong, solid bones as early as we can - and before perimenopause strikes. Take note women get the weak bone disease more than men. (3)
Its role in your body: Not only does calcium help build and maintain strong bones, we also need it to maintain healthy muscles, nerves, and a healthy heart.
Recommended Intake: For ages 14 to 18 years old, they should take 1,300 mg per day, 19 to 30 years old must take 1,000 per day, 31 to 50 years old takes 1,000 mg per day and 51- to 70-year-old females take 1,200 mg per day.
3. Vitamin D. Calcium intake will be useless without Vitamin D. You need this vitamin to absorb calcium. You can’t form the hormone “calcitriol”, the active form of vitamin D that aids in calcium absorption.
Its role in your body: In fact, vitamin D is amongst the most crucial nutrients for women. Deficiency in this vitamin is a serious condition as it in turn can lead to more serious health issues such as bone loss, hormonal imbalance, infertility, pregnancy issues, mood problems and many others. (4)
Recommended Intake: Experts recommend that you take 600 IU daily up to 70 years old. For individuals above 70, they need to increase it to 800 IU per day. The upper limit is 4,000 IU per day per the Institute of Medicine.
4. Biotin. The benefits of this water-soluble B vitamin to a woman’s health and appearance are great and yet it seems to be an overlooked ‘beauty vitamin’. It helps maintain healthy and strong hair and nail growth as well as perform other functions crucial to overall health.
Its role in your body: It helps in the synthesis of fatty acids, proteins, and carbohydrates. No wonder biotin along with other B complex vitamins contribute to healthy cells, skin, hair, and nails.
Recommended Intake: General recommended dosage for this vitamin for teens and adults is 30 mcg.
5. Omega Acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are very important in the prevention of various diseases especially in women. Who knew getting sufficient omega 3s in our diet helps ward off dysmenorrhea! (5) Also, omega 3 supplementation lowers the risk of birth defects, prevents postpartum depression, stops menopausal issues as well as hormonal imbalance, prevents osteoporosis during menopause, fights UV ray sensitivity, and prevents breast cancer. Big reasons to love omega fatty acids!
Its role in your body: Both omega 3 and omega 6 are not produced by our body therefore we need to get it either from our food or through supplementation. Essential fatty acids help maintain and protect your gut, your heart, as well as your immune system.
Recommended Intake: Adults should take no more than 3 grams each day of omega acids in the form of supplements as it may increase your risk of bleeding.
6. Vitamin A. If you’re obsessed with looking and staying young, this vitamin is a must-have in your daily beauty routine. Retinol more than an eye vitamin, helps fight natural skin aging as well as maintains your skin’s youthful appearance. Plus it cures embarrassing skin conditions including acne, eczema, and psoriasis amongst others.
Its role in your body: Vitamin A retinol works intracellularly and boosts collagen production. (6) And collagen is a skin protein that makes it supple and wrinkle-free. Moreover, this antioxidant vitamin also promotes normal immune system function, reproduction, growth, and wound healing.
Recommended Intake: Women 19 years and older can take 700 mcg daily to get sufficient levels of this powerful nutrient.
7. Vitamin C. This vitamin is an antioxidant that helps stimulate collagen production. This vitamin isn’t popular for nothing. It helps you fight viral and bacterial infections, and promote healthy skin as it repairs damaged cells and tissues. What’s more, it fights free radicals, a big factor that speeds up skin aging and damages DNA.
Its role in your body: This super vitamin’s function is irreplaceable. It protects you from heart disease or stroke, shields you from cancer, osteoarthritis, AMD, asthma, and a host of other diseases.
Recommended Intake: Adolescents between 14 and 18 years old are recommended to take 65 mg daily. While women over 18 years old are recommended to take no more than 75 mg per day.
8. Folic acid. Like biotin, this B vitamin is also quite essential to women. This nutrient helps in cell function and tissue growth. It also helps prevent anemia and menstrual issues.
Its role in your body: If you experience diarrhea too often, or have premature hair graying, poor growth, ulcers, and glossitis, you’re most likely deficient in this B vitamin. Folic acid supplements are also used to treat menstrual problems.
Recommended Intake: For females age 14 and older the right dosage per day is 400 mcg.
9. Probiotics. If you want to avoid hormonal imbalance which in turn leads to various skin and hair problems then better supplement with a good quality probiotic source. This is also among the best supplements for women because apart from maintaining a healthy gut flora, it’s quite beneficial to both urinary and vaginal health.
Its role in your body: Friendly bacteria found in your gut and female organ are essential in warding off yeast and other bacterial infections in women. A healthy balance in your gut bacteria likewise help shun allergies, skin disorders, obesity, and various digestive issues.
Recommended Intake: Depending on the probiotic strain, the dosage ranges from 1 billion CFU (colony-forming unit) to 20 billion CFU per day. There’s also no evidence that higher dosages are not safe; though may be unnecessary. (8)
10. Magnesium. Wondering why you get the blues before your period? You may be deficient in magnesium. This mineral has been proven to reduce premenstrual symptoms in women with PMS. (9)
Its role in your body: Apart from warding off PMS, magnesium also boosts your thyroid glands and helps you fight anxiety, depression, and headaches. It’s crucial for the production of ATP (cell energy) and S-Adenosyl methionine, which serves as a main precursor to fatty acids, antioxidants, and certain brain chemicals.
Recommended Intake: Young women ages 14 to 18 years can take 360 mg daily; while 19 to 30 years old women take 310 mg a day. 31+ women are recommended to take 320 mg daily.
Knowing all the benefits of these nutrients for women, investing in the right supplement products is truly worth your while.