Today’s women are health-conscious and prefer to follow a healthy diet plan. A healthy diet plan is one that includes the right combination of vitamins. Women of every age, weight and activity level need to consume a wide variety of vitamins to have optimal health and prevent different types of health problems.
Vitamins are organic compounds that help different parts of the body function properly. Each of the different vitamins performs a specific function. A deficiency of needed vitamins can contribute to some serious health problems. This is why it is essential to get vitamins from the foods you eat or, if necessary, from vitamin supplements.
Here are the top 10 vitamins for women.
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A contains antioxidant properties. Women of all ages need vitamin A as it aids 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.
Foods that are rich in vitamin A include carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkin, apricots, tomatoes, watermelon, guava, broccoli, kale, papaya, peaches, red peppers, spinach, eggs, liver, milk and fortified cereals.
2. Vitamin B2
Known as riboflavin, Vitamin B2 is essential for good health, normal growth and metabolism. It helps boost energy and strengthen the immune system, while reducing tingling and numbness, anxiety, stress and fatigue.
A deficiency of vitamin B2 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.
Some of the foods rich in vitamin B2 are organ meats, cheese, milk, yogurt, leafy vegetables, yeast, eggs, cereals, whole grains, soybeans, almonds, nuts and mushrooms.
3. Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is an essential vitamin required for a healthy immune system. This particular vitamin also helps the body produce hormones and brain chemicals, which in turn helps reduce depression, heart disease and memory loss.
It can also help regulate your blood sugar level. Pregnant women can eat foods with vitamin B6 to get rid of morning sickness. 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, seeds, and dried fruits.
4. Vitamin B7
Vitamin B7, also known as biotin, is required for cell growth and synthesis of fatty acids. This vitamin keeps the sweat glands, hair and skin healthy. In fact, it promotes hair growth and helps treat brittle nails. Also, vitamin B7 is required for bone growth and bone marrow and helps maintain normal cholesterol levels.
Though a deficiency of vitamin B7 is very rare but it occurs then it can cause brittle hair, rashes, abnormal heart functioning, lethargy, anemia, and mild depression.
Some of the best food choices to get vitamin B7 are fish, sweet potatoes, almonds, carrots, bananas, cantaloupe, yellow fruits, green leafy vegetables, lentils, brown rice, peppers, egg yolks, soybeans, oatmeal, milk, cheese, yogurt and nuts.
5. Vitamin B9
Vitamin B9, also known as folic acid, is essential for every woman as it helps prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, depression, cancer and memory loss. It also enhances brain health and cellular functioning and improves fertility and fetal development during pregnancy.
A deficiency of vitamin B9 in pregnant women can cause neural tube defects in the baby, such as spina bifida.
Foods rich in vitamin B9 include dark leafy green vegetables, orange juice, asparagus, melons, strawberries, fortified grains, legumes, beans, nutritional yeast and eggs.
6. Vitamin B12
Another essential vitamin that every woman should eat is B12, which is important for metabolism, normal cell division and protein synthesis. This vitamin helps prevent heart disease, memory loss and anemia.
It also can be used to treat depression and help maintain healthy nerve system and brain functioning. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause irritability, depression and confusion. It can also cause tongue and mouth inflammation.
Some of the best food sources for vitamin B12 are cheese, eggs, fish, meat, milk, yogurt and fortified breakfast cereals.
7. Vitamin C
Known as an immunity booster, vitamin C has many health benefits for women. It helps speed up the healing process, promotes tissue growth and reduces the risk for certain kinds of cancer, heart disease and tissue damage. It also plays a key role in the formation of red blood cells.
Some of the best vitamin C-rich foods are broccoli, grapefruits, kiwi, oranges, peppers, potatoes, strawberries, sprouts and tomatoes.
8. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that promotes the absorption of calcium, which plays a key role in keeping the bones strong. Vitamin D also reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and various types of cancer.
It can also help reduce pre-menstrual syndrome symptoms and protect your eyesight. A deficiency of this vitamin may weaken your bones and contribute to osteoporosis.
Short daily exposure to sunlight can give your body the required dose of vitamin D. For most light-skinned people, an exposure of 10 to 15 minutes is sufficient to produce enough vitamin D for the body. In addition, you can eat foods that are rich in vitamin D like fatty fish, fortified milk, liver and eggs.
9. Vitamin E
Vitamin E contains anti-aging properties that fight cell damage and slow down age-related changes in your body. This vitamin also helps prevent heart disease, cataracts, memory loss and certain types of cancer.
Plus, vitamin E is essential for skin and hair. It is often included in hair and skin care products.
Foods that are rich in vitamin E include wheat germ, hazelnuts, almonds, spinach, margarine, corn oil, cod liver oil, peanut butter, safflower oil and sunflower seeds.
10. Vitamin K
Vitamin K plays a key role in promoting strong bones, maintaining normal blood clotting and reducing the risk of various heart diseases. This particular vitamin is also necessary for immune functioning and energy.
Some of the best food sources of vitamin K are whole grain food products, green leafy vegetables, soybean oil and fish oil.
To conclude, eating five servings of fruit and vegetables each day is a good way to get all the essential vitamins. If you are not getting the required dose of vitamins from various foods, you can take vitamin supplements. But before taking any supplement, consult your doctor.