Most women understand the importance of slathering on moisturiser and using sunscreen to protect our complexions from the elements, have you considered how important it is to protect your body from the inside too?
In theory, if you eat a healthy diet, your body should get all the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy. In practice, though, we are often deficient in key nutrients. It isn’t easy eating enough fruit and vegetables, and if you are on a restricted diet for any reason, the odds are you are lacking in at least one vitamin. In fact, 30% of women are deficient and 75% of women would develop deficiencies if they didn’t take supplements every day.
Supplementing with vitamins and minerals is not ideal, but it can plug the gaps. Here are five essential supplements all women should take.
Women often have low levels of vitamin D, especially those living in the northern hemisphere were sunlight is weaker. Low levels of vitamin D are linked to Alzheimer’s disease, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, fibroids, and problematic pregnancies. Older women should take vitamin D as it helps to prevent bone loss post-menopause.
Get tested for vitamin D, to check how low your levels are. If you need a supplement, look for vitamin D3, which is the active form and more easily absorbed.
Vitamin E can be taken as a pill or in oil form. There are many great benefits of vitamin E. It boosts cardiovascular health, repairs damaged skin, reduces premenstrual symptoms, and helps to correct hormonal imbalances. Take vitamin E as you get older to prevent a loss of vision due to the natural aging process.
B Vitamin Complex
B vitamins are very important for women. The B vitamins help protect your cognitive function and boost energy levels. Women of child-bearing age should always supplement with folate (folic acid) to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Folate deficiencies are linked to spinal cord and brain defects, so most women in developed countries are encouraged to supplement before and after conception. If you are vegan or vegetarian, you definitely need to take a B vitamin complex each day.
Iron deficiencies are very common, especially in women who have heavy menstrual periods. Red meat and leafy green vegetables are the best sources of iron, but vegans and vegetarians will struggle to get enough iron in their diet. An iron deficiency leads to anaemia and you will feel weak and fatigued. You may even feel breathless when you walk upstairs.
Calcium is essential for bone health. Women start losing bone mass from age 30+. Older women should take calcium supplements in conjunction with vitamin D to protect against bone loss. If you’re aged 50+, take 5000 mg calcium citrate twice daily and make sure you eat plenty of dairy foods.
All of these vitamins and minerals will boost your health regimen, but feel free to add magnesium, vitamin K, vitamins C and A, and a probiotic supplement to improve gut health.