If you are a health conscious woman, your diet plan must include the right combination of vitamins.
For optimal health and to keep diseases at bay, women at different ages, weight and depending on how much activity your day to day involves, taking the right vitamins is paramount.
According to Medline Plus, vitamins are substances that your body needs to grow and develop normally. Each of the different vitamins performs a specific function and a deficiency of needed vitamins can contribute to some serious health problems.
Whether you choose to go the supplements way or ingest it organically, you should consider consuming at least these five vitamins for the sake of your health.
- Vitamins A
Vitamin A is an antioxidant that can be found in plant or animal sources. It plays a major role in building and strengthening bones, teeth, soft tissue, skin and mucous membranes. Vitamin A also reduces the risk of chronic illness, improves vision, slows down the aging process and boosts the immune system. It is especially important for women who suffer from liver diseases, cystic fibrosis, and Crohn's disease. Foods rich in Vitamin A include carrots, pumpkin, apricots, tomates, kale, watermelons and red peppers, spinach, eggs, liver, milk and fortified cereals.
- Vitamin B2
Also known as riboflavin, vitamin B2 is essential for human health. It is crucial for breaking down food components, absorbing other nutrients and maintaining tissues. It is vital to consume vitamin B2 every day because the body can only store small amounts and supplies go down rapidly. A deficiency of riboflavin can affect metabolism and influence the immune system and neural functions that can cause pale eyes and tongue, a sore throat, mouth ulcers, cracks on the lips, dry hair, wrinkles and itchy skin. Sources rich in vitamin B2 include organic meats, cheese, milk, yogurt, leafy vegetables, eggs, some cereals, whole grains, soybeans, almonds, nuts, mushrooms, molasses and sweet potatoes.
- Vitamin B6
According to National Institute of Health, Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in many foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement, it is the generic name for six compounds (vitamers) with vitamin B6 activity. These are pyridoxine an alcohol, pyridoxal an aldehyde and pyridoxamine which contains an amino group and their respective 5’-phosphate esters. Pyridoxal 5’ phosphate (PLP) and pyridoxamine 5’ phosphate (PMP) are the active coenzyme forms of vitamin B6.
The vitamin helps the body produce hormones and brain chemicals which in turn helps reduce depression, heart disease and memory loss. It can also help regulate blood sugar levels and is a good cure for morning sickness in pregnant women. Lack of vitamin B6 in the body can cause anemia.
Some of the best foods for a healthy dose of vitamin B6 are fortified cereals, avocados, bananas, meats, beans, fish, oatmeal, nuts and dried fruit.
- Vitamin B7
A water soluble B-complex vitamin that helps the body metabolize proteins and process glucose, it is also known as biotin or vitamin H. According to Medical News Today, the human body cannot synthesize biotin. Only bacteria, molds, yeasts, algae and certain plants can make it so the diet needs to supply it. biotin is required for bone growth and bone marrow and helps maintain normal cholesterol levels. Foods rich in biotin include liver, peanuts, yeast, whole-wheat bread, cheddar cheese, pork, salmon, avocado, raspberries, bananas, mushrooms, cauliflower and egg yolks.
- Vitamin B9
Also known as Folate (naturally occurring in foods) or Folic Acid (a synthetic folate compound used in vitamin supplements because of its increased stability), the name comes from ‘folium’, which is the Latin word for leaves, because folates were first isolated from spinach. According to Just Vitamins, Vitamin B9 is important as it helps the body to utilise amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins. It helps the body form blood cells in bone marrow and ensures rapid cell growth in infancy, adolescence and pregnancy. Vitamin B9 plays a crucial role in producing nucleic acids (e.g., DNA), the body's genetic material.
Together with Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 it also helps control blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine which is associated with certain chronic conditions such as heart disease.
A deficiency of vitamin B9 in pregnant women can cause neural tube defects in the baby such as spina bifida. Folate is found in a wide variety of foods but the richest sources are liver, dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts and spinach, beans and yeast. Other sources include eggs sspecifically the yolk, milk and dairy products, beets, orange juice and whole wheat bread.
Other crucial vitamins women need to add to their diet include Vitamins B12, Vitamin B, Vitamin C and Vitamin E and Vitamin K.
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