Women face unique health issues, from pregnancy and breastfeeding to menstruation and menopause. On top of that, many women also lead busy lives that require them to juggle both personal and professional responsibilities.
So it’s important for women to eat a balanced diet to make sure they are meeting their nutritional needs and getting enough vitamins and minerals on a daily basis. Here are 7 important nutrients women need at every age.
7 important nutrients for women
|Nutrient||Benefits||Sources||Daily requirements (adult women)|
|Iron||Essential for various body functions, including hormonal balance, and helps transport oxygen to body tissues (through hemoglobin in the blood and myoglobin in the muscles)||Lean meat, seafood, poultry, spinach, lentils, raisins, and iron-fortified foods||18 milligrams|
|Calcium||Essential for healthy bones, teeth, muscle function, blood vessel contraction and dilation, nerve transmission, and hormonal balance||Milk, yogurt, cheese, tofu, broccoli, cream, salmon and calcium-fortified foods||1,000 milligrams|
B5 (pantothenic acid)
B9 (folic acid)
|Essential for heart health, nerve functions, muscle health, energy production, digestion, blood health, appetite regulation, eye health, and skin health||
Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, dairy, fish, poultry, and whole grains
B1: 1.1 milligrams
B2: 1.1 milligrams
B3: 14 milligrams
B5: 5 milligrams
B6: 1.3 milligrams
Biotin: 30 micrograms
Folic acid: 400 micrograms
B12: 2.4 micrograms
|Vitamin D||Essential for healthy bones and muscles, nerve health, immune function, and glucose metabolism||Fatty fish, beef, liver, cheese, egg yolk, and mushroom||15 micrograms (600 international units [IU])|
|Vitamin E||Acts as an antioxidant and helps with immunity, hormonal balance, inflammation regulation, and healthy blood flow||Nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, green leafy vegetables, and fortified foods||15 milligrams|
|Omega-3 fatty acids||Components of the cell structure that help maintain healthy functioning of the heart, blood vessels, brain, eyes, lungs, and hormones||Flaxseed, soybean and canola oils, walnuts, chia seeds, fatty fish, and fortified foods||1.1 grams|
|Magnesium||Helps in the action of various enzymes involved protein synthesis, blood pressure regulation, blood sugar control, and nerve and muscle function||Green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains||
310 milligrams (ages 19 to 30 years)
320 milligrams (31 years and older)
What to keep in mind when meeting your nutritional needs
To maintain optimal health, women also need plenty of:
- Polyphenols (antioxidants derived from plants such as resveratrol, quercetin, and catechins)
- Macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fats), although values differ depending on factors such as physical activity, weight, and underlying health conditions
Your nutritional requirements may also change as you age or go through different changes in your life. And since some vitamins and minerals can be dangerous when consumed in excess, it’s always best to consult your doctor about your diet to make sure you are minimizing unnecessary risks.
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