Women’s Nutrition: What Vitamins and Minerals Do We Really Need?

As the old saying goes, women are from Venus and men are from Mars. Despite us being of the same species, there really are so many differences between the genders both mentally and physically. And so when it comes to physical health, it’s no wonder that we need slightly different vitamins and minerals to thrive compared with our male counterparts. A woman’s body is perfectly designed for the complex process of conceiving and giving birth to a child. However, even if you’re not pregnant, there are certain nutrients you need in order to stay healthy. Here are just a few of them because women’s nutrition is important to staying healthy.

Iron

Each month women lose up to 7mg of iron due to menstruation, and for this reason, it’s much easier for women to become deficient or even anemic. If your iron levels are low you may benefit from taking a supplement, however it’s worth speaking to a doctor as too much iron can actually be dangerous. The last thing you want is to jump from one extreme to the other. Ideally, you’ll get all of the iron you need from your diet. Dark leafy green vegetables such as cabbage and spinach, beans, seafood and dried fruit are all high in the nutrient. Red meat is also a good source, although due to high levels of saturated fat you should be wary of eating too much of it.

Folic Acid

Guidelines suggest that every sexually active woman should take a folic acid supplement. This is because it’s incredibly important for the development of a fetus, and since one in two pregnancies aren’t planned you should take it even if you’re not trying to conceive. By the time you find out you’re expecting it could be too late; so this gives you peace of mind just in case. If you get a multivitamin containing folic acid you won’t have to do anything different. Simply take your daily tablet as you normally would, and you’re protected if the situation does arise.

Vitamin b12

There are a number of ways that a B12 deficiency can affect the female reproductive system. These include cell abnormalities in the cervix and uterus, to an egg not being released during the monthly cycle. Hormonal disruptions such as abnormal estrogen levels have also been found, these are crucial for successful full-term pregnancies. Vitamin b12 is found in animals and animal products such as meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy. Vegetarians and vegans are particularly at risk. However, you can get supplements to ensure your levels are kept where they should be.

Whey Protein

According to research, women actually benefit more from a protein supplement than men do; this is because women are more likely to opt for low-fat choices in their diet (which can also mean low protein). You can find reviews of the best whey protein for women by Fitness To Go if you’re considering trying it out. If you workout and take exercise seriously, adding a whey protein powder or supplement to your diet can build lean muscle and help with weight loss. Plus whey is easily digested and helps with amino acid absorption.

What’re Your Thoughts?

Understanding that our bodies are different to men’s, and why we need more of some nutrients than they do is important. Find ways of working these into your diet, whether it’s with food or a supplement.

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.
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