TOP 5 VITAMINS WOMEN SHOULD BE GETTING

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By Faith Ellis

Vitamins are natural compounds in our bodies that are essential for proper growth and function. They are micronutrients that can be found in food and supplements and are necessary to consume since our bodies cannot synthesize them. While there are thirteen different vitamins our bodies need, we have compiled a list of the top 5 vitamins women should take.

Top 5 Vitamins for Women

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are these amazing little nutrients that can stop harmful things from happening to the tissues in our bodies. Have you ever seen the Pom Wonderful commercial where these Pom Warriors protect the person drinking the juice?

That’s basically what’s happening inside of your body when these little antioxidants are swarming. They protect you!

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Okay, so while these little guys are protecting your tissues, this also helps slow the aging process by preserving your tissues, boost your immune system, and they benefit your eyesight.

Where can we find them?

We can find antioxidants in a variety of foods, think “pretty”. Seriously, think about your brightly colored foods such as:

Apricots

Peaches

Broccoli

Berries

Pineapple

Carrots

Here’s an interesting tidbit: they are also in black coffee, green tea, and wine! Yes, wine. When can we start drinking? It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!

How much should you take?

The minimum suggested daily intake is 8,000-11,000 units. This is attainable by choosing quality fruits and vegetables with high nutritional value. Another good way to meet this daily intake is by sipping green tea throughout the day. Still, this is probably a good time to consider a supplement if you’re still not quite meeting that many units.

Vitamin B

There are 8 different vitamin B’s, so you should really look at taking a vitamin B complex. However, most important of the 8 B’s are Vitamin B 6, 12, and 9, otherwise known as folic acid.

B vitamins play a vital role in supporting a healthy body, energy, brain function, and metabolism. They promote cell health, a good appetite, hormone production and muscle tone. These vitamins are especially important for pregnant and breastfeeding women as they aid in fetal development.

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Where can we find them?

B vitamins are in a variety of foods, making it easier to obtain them through diet. A few of the popular foods include:

Oatmeal

Eggs

Fish

Cheese

Spinach & Kale

Soy Products

Taking supplements for these vitamins is not usually necessary and you should consult your doctor if you are considering a Vitamin B Complex. Too much of this vitamin could be potentially toxic.

How much should you take?

The daily intake differs for each specific B vitamin. Women should take 1.3mg of Vitamin B6, 2.4 mcg of Vitamin B12, and 400mcg of folic acid daily. Older adults and pregnant women may require higher doses.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K are fat-soluble vitamins that play a part in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and regulating blood calcium levels. You can benefit bone, cognitive, and heart health with these healthy vitamins.

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Where can we find them?

Vitamin K can be found in a few different foods and tend to be most popular in leafy greens and fermented foods such as:

Parsley

Collard Greens

Spinach

Grapes

Soybean Oil

Natto (fermented soy beans)

Most adults are deemed to consume a sufficient intake of vitamin K through diet, but looking at this list, it leaves us to wonder. Eggs are also a popular source of vitamin K but be aware that this vitamin is found in that bright yellow yolk. Don’t throw it away!

How much should you take?

An adult female is suggested to consume 90 mcg of vitamin K daily. One cup of broccoli contains 113 mcg. There is no evidence to suggest any dangers or toxicity for an overdose of vitamin K. Typically, many people get plenty of this vitamin through their food.If you take blood-thinning medications, ask your doctor before taking vitamin K.

Vitamin D

Otherwise known as the “sunshine vitamin”, vitamin D helps battle depression and fatigue, and can even help with cancer. Vitamin D actually helps the body absorb Calcium. Our bodies convert vitamin D to Calcitriol, which prompts the body to produce proteins and help carry Calcium throughout the body. Added benefits of Vitamin D include strong bones and positive impacts on cardiovascular diseases.

Photo by Sander Dalhuisen on Unsplash

Where can we find them?

Sun is the most effective way to get vitamin D, but you still need to wear sunblock. Few foods include this sunshine vitamin but you can obtain it still from:

Oily fish (think salmon)

Eggs

Orange Juice

Milk

Pay attention to foods such as cereals and milks. Many now offer options that are “fortified with vitamin D.”

How much should you take?

This question is still disputed over the experts, in fact, it’s been debated for more than 15 years. The current advice is 20 to 30 ng/mL. How do you measure that exactly? The safest bet is to have a varied diet and enjoy a little bit of sunshine.

Calcium

Calcium is very common within the body. In fact, it is the main element in our bones and teeth. Some calcium can also be found throughout the bloodstream and in tissue.

 

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Calcium helps us to maintain a healthy skeleton, which is the foundation of support for our bodies. As we age and our bones breakdown, calcium will help us to build new bone, but it’s more than that. Calcium also helps contract muscles and transmit messages to our brains, therefore it contributes to most functions of our body.

Where can we find it?

Many people assume that your best bet is to get calcium from dairy. While dairy does contain calcium, this isn’t your only option. Calcium can be found in other foods including:

Seeds

Almonds

Beans

Whey Protein

Tofu

Figs

And of course dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt.

How much should you take?

Women 50 and younger should strive for 1,000mg of calcium per day. Women over 50 need to aim a little higher, around 1,200mg a day. It’s definitely possible to get this from your food, however, if you follow a vegan diet or have osteoporosis, you might consider taking a supplement. Also, if you are an athlete and consume a lot of protein. Protein causes the body to excrete more calcium, so you need to be sure you aren’t excreting it all without replenishing it.

Should women get their vitamins from supplements or food?

This will depend on your diet and the vitamin. All of the vitamins listed above can be found in your food. In fact, all 13 vitamins can be found in food. The number one thing to focus on is consuming whole, natural foods of vegetables, fruits, and animal proteins, along with nuts and dairy. Have a balanced and varied diet will keep your body enriched with all of these crucial vitamins. That being said, in some cases, whether you aren’t a food group or you don’t get enough calories in a day, a supplement may be exactly what you need.

FAITH ENGEN ELLIS

Faith is a southern girl, born and raised in North Carolina. She enjoys spending time with her husband and fur-baby.

Faith is living a healthy lifestyle and her ultimate passion is to inspire others to do the same.

She decided to change the way she was living 4 years ago, but she wasn’t expecting to actually fall in love with it!

Now she enjoys experimenting with different kinds of fitness and challenging her body to new heights whether it be pilates, plyometric training, or weight training, and she aims to inspire others to realize the strength within themselves as well.

Faith’s favorite product for pre-workout is the Optimum Nutrition Essential Amino Energy line. Her favorite flavor so far has been the peach lemonade, but next on her list is Mocha Cappuccino, yum! The use of natural caffeine sources is a real win for this product and it mixes easily, so there is no grainy texture. 

For protein sources, she enjoys Oh Yeah! One Bars for a quick and filling snack on-the-go, of which she has many favorite flavors!  Or Gaspari Precision Protein to mix up a shake. Faith’s favorite recipe uses 1 scoop of the Cinnamon Cereal Crunch flavor, mixed with 1/2 a banana, 1/4 a cup of vanilla Greek yogurt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 8 ounces of unsweetened almond milk, and 1 cup of ice.

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