Although regardless of gender we all need vitamins in appropriate doses for the healthy functioning of the body organs, women need higher amounts of certain vitamins to meet the specific needs of the body at different phases of life. While a balanced diet provides all the vitamins you need, it is advisable to focus on foods that are especially rich in vitamins essential for women. Here are the most important vitamins for every woman.
Vitamin A, found in the form of beta carotene in yellow and orange colored vegetables and fruits, is a powerful antioxidant vitamin that protects women from the harmful activities of free radicals. You need vitamin A for maintaining healthy skin, soft tissues and mucus membrane.
Vitamin B6 increases carbohydrate metabolism and is hence essential for maintaining steady supply of energy. It is also important for building red blood cells. The B vitamin is involved in synthesis of brain chemicals serotonin, dopamine and GABA that help in calming the mind and reducing depression.
Vitamin B12 is essential for production of red blood cells. It promotes metabolism and is essential for the healthy functioning of the brain and the nervous system. By lowering the homocysteine level in the blood, it reduces the risk of heart problems.
Folic acid is needed for the development of the central nervous system. Women planning conception should eat sufficient amount of folic acid rich foods to prevent neural tube defects in their babies. Folic acid is also essential for formation of red blood cells.
A powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is essential for strengthening the immune system. Moreover, vitamin C aids absorption of iron from foods. As women of childbearing age have a higher risk of iron-deficiency anemia, consuming vitamin C rich food helps in maintaining the healthy hemoglobin level. The level of vitamin C in the body tends to decline with age and during stress. Hence, to maintain the optimal level of vitamin C, you must eat citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries, broccoli and other vitamin C rich vegetables and fruits.
Vitamin D is essential for maintaining the normal bone mineral density. It improves absorption of calcium and phosphates. In older women, vitamin D can reduce osteoporosis risk. It also facilitates weight loss and can reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. It may slow down the aging process. It is also essential for maintaining healthy cell membranes. It also helps in reducing the bothersome symptoms of menopause. Wheat germ, corn oil, seeds and nuts are rich sources of vitamin E.