International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated globally on 8 March every year. It is 2021 and now is the time for women who all around the globe deserve a complete nutritional fulfilment of their physical and mental health.
Individual nutritional needs vary according to age and overall health status. Some requirements are specific to women, and they can also change during the lifespan.
Vitamins for different needs
Women’s activity levels and overall health status can affect their dietary needs:
• Very active women
• Women with heavy periods
• Pregnancy and breastfeeding
• A vegan or vegetarian diet
Here are five nutrients that may help protect women from heart disease, as well as lower the risk of other chronic conditions such as osteoporosis, diabetes, breast cancer and high blood pressure, as she ages.
1.NUTRIENT: VITAMIN D (Down to the Bone)
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be made in our bodies when exposed to sunlight. It’s also found in vitamin D-fortified foods such as milk.
Why is vitamin D important?
It helps our bodies absorb calcium from our diet and supplements we may take. Vitamin D also plays a role in the development and maintenance of healthy bones. It also plays a crucial role in the body’s immunity, bone health, as it helps to absorb calcium for bone strength — cancer prevention, blood sugar regulation and decreasing insulin sensitivity.
Women who don’t get enough Vitamin D could develop brittle bones, or even worse, osteoporosis, as the nutrient helps the body absorb calcium, which helps keep ageing bones strong.
Sources: Women can boost their Vitamin D intake by increasing their dairy products such as milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese, and hard cheese.
2.NUTRIENT: VITAMIN Bs (The Energizers)
The B vitamins include thiamin (B1), riboflavin(B2), niacin(B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), cobalamin (B12) and biotin. These are water-soluble essential nutrients found in many foods, including whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Why are B vitamins important?
An active woman can burn more than 2,000 calories a day. And B vitamins are essential for producing the energy necessary to meet the demands of everyday life, whether you’re going to the gym, doing laundry, showering or giving a presentation at work.
Vitamins B6 and B12 reduce a woman’s risk of heart disease by helping to keep homocysteine levels low. High levels of the naturally occurring amino acid raise the risk of heart attacks, stroke and blood clots.
Biotin has long been recognized for its vital role in healthy hair.
Folic acid, or folate, is a B-complex vitamin also known as vitamin B9, which is essential during the reproductive years and for expectant mothers. It reduces the risk of fetal complications, especially those involving the spine and brain, helps create red blood cells, and aids protein digestion.
Sources: Women can boost their Vitamin B intake by increasing their intake of leafy green vegetables, citrus, berries, nuts, beans and olive oil. Vitamin B12 is found exclusively in fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and foods that are fortified with B vitamins.
3.NUTRIENT: CALCIUM (The Bone Builder)
Calcium is an essential mineral and almost all your body’s calcium is found in your bones and teeth. Typically, a little more than 1% of a women’s body weight is calcium, which certainly helps us understand why we consider it so important.
Why is calcium important?
Since women are four times more susceptible to osteoporosis than men, getting enough is essential for lifelong bone health. The remaining 1% is critical because calcium plays a role in heart and muscle action, blood clotting and normal cell function.
Calcium helps the body make new bone cells, and as women approach menopause, the ability to make new bone cells decreases.
Sources: Drinking milk does not provide enough calcium to make up the difference. Besides dairy products, calcium can also be found in tofu, cereals, soy and rice beverages, green, leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli and Chinese cabbage, and fish with soft bones such as sardines and salmon as well as fortified foods.
4.NUTRIENT: OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS (Heart-Healthy)
These highly specialized fats can’t be made in our body. Omega-3 fatty acids are a form of polyunsaturated fat. Eating a higher amount of fish and Omega-3 fatty acids are linked with a lower risk of heart disease among women.
Why is Omega 3’s important?
Omega 3’s are anti-inflammatory, important for heart and blood vessel health and for reducing circulating triglycerides to lower heart disease risk and help with chronic pain and brain health. They also promote beautiful skin and aid in hormone balance for both men and women. These special fats also support healthy joints and optimize brain operations.
Fish, such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon, are a rich source of omega-3s, namely EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). This healthy fat may also help slow down the growth of plaque build-up in the arteries and lowers blood pressure.
Sources: Fish oil supplements. Fatty fish like salmon, tilapia or codfish -at least twice a week and Olive oil, which contains monounsaturated fatty acids
5.NUTRIENT: ZINC (Immunity Booster)
Zinc is an essential mineral that women require daily to stay healthy. Most women shy away from zinc-rich foods. This is a problem because zinc plays a role in mood, bone health, immunity, and more.
Why is Zinc important?
Although zinc is needed in small amounts, a zinc deficiency can cause some serious and unpleasant side effects – like hair loss, problems with your sense of taste and smell or poor wound healing. Good sources of zinc include red meat, chicken, seafood, dairy products, legumes and nuts. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, women need 8 milligrams of zinc each day; 11 milligrams if they are pregnant and 12 milligrams of zinc daily if they are breastfeeding.
We firmly believe in a holistic approach to women’s health, which is why we work with you to take care of any medical issues to improve your health and wellbeing.
We build close relationships with our clients, allowing you to be comfortable with our online consultation, to know you are your medical history better. Make your health a priority. To talk to our expert nutritionist, book an appointment with detoxpri today.