Nutrition

A Guide to the Best Women’s Ideas in 2024

Ideally, a woman could get all of her nutritional needs from her daily meals and drink choices—but that’s not always possible, says Persak. For example, when a woman’s needs increase—say, she increases her exercise routine, catches a virus, endures prolonged periods of stress or has a health problem—eating his nutrient-dense diet may be missing the mark, he says. In that case, a supplement can help.

Here are the top nine remedies to support women’s health.

Beta-carotene

Beta-carotene is a carotenoid (a type of antioxidant) found in abundance in red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables (such as potatoes, carrots and peppers), says Dr. Frick. In the body, beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A, he explains, which is important for heart and lung function, skin and vision health and a strong immune system. For women, vitamin A is important during pregnancy to support the development of the baby, he adds.

“While excessive beta-carotene intake results in harmless orange-yellow skin, too much vitamin A can cause toxicity,” says Dr Frick. In addition, too much vitamin A during pregnancy can cause birth defects. However, older pregnant women need more vitamin A than normal – 770 micrograms of retinol activity, compared to 700 for non-pregnant women aged 19 to 50.

Lutein

Lutein is a carotenoid that is very important for eye health, says Dr. Frick. Its specific function is to protect the area at the back of your eye called the macula. The back of your eye is the retina, and the macula sits in the center of the retina,” he explains. It helps you see what’s directly in front of you, allows you to see fine details, and plays an important role in color vision, says Dr. Frick.

Dr. Frick says: Lutein protects the cells of the eye from being damaged by the sun’s rays and blue light from the lights on the screen. It also helps prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration—an eye disease that affects women more than men. And as an antioxidant, lutein protects the health of the brain, helping to prevent memory loss and dementia, adds Persak.

Although there is no recommended daily amount of lutein, the usual amount is 5 to 10 milligrams per day, says Persak.

B vitamins

As a group, B vitamins help turn food into energy and support the production of healthy red blood cells. B vitamins are found in animal proteins, leafy vegetables, legumes and fortified breads and breakfast cereals. A deficiency of vitamin B12 or B6 can result in a serious condition called anemia, where your body cannot produce healthy red blood cells.

For women, vitamins B6, B12 and B9 (folate) are especially important, says Dr. Frick.

  • Vitamin B12 important for the development of the fetus during pregnancy. It’s also a good idea to supplement with B12 if you’re vegetarian or over 50, as the body can’t absorb the nutrient. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for B12 is 2.4 micrograms for women, 2.6 micrograms for pregnant women and 2.8 micrograms for lactating women. Some medications can also cause B12 deficiency including metformin and proton pump inhibitors.
  • Vitamin B6 it can help reduce premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and morning sickness during pregnancy. For morning sickness, 10 to 25 milligrams is recommended three to four times a day; for PMS, try 80 milligrams daily when you have symptoms.
  • Vitamin B9 (folate) important during pregnancy to avoid the risk of neurological defects, premature birth and low birth weight. Pregnant women need 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid per day.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruit), kiwi, red and green peppers, broccoli, tomatoes and strawberries. It is important for immune function, wound healing and collagen production, says Dr. Frick. And as an antioxidant, vitamin C helps protect your body against free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage cells, he says.

Vitamin C is especially important for women because it helps absorb iron, says Persak. She explains that women lose iron in their menstrual blood during their monthly cycle, which puts them at greater risk of iron deficiency.

The daily requirements of vitamin C are set at 75 milligrams for women, increasing to 85 milligrams and 120 milligrams during pregnancy and lactation, respectively. The upper daily limit of vitamin C is 2,000 milligrams, and most supplements come in doses between 250 to 500 milligrams.

Steel

Iron is found in red meat, poultry, seafood, fortified cereals and bread, oysters, legumes, dark chocolate, liver, spinach and tofu. The mineral is used to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body’s cells.

Teens and women with heavy periods may need more iron as it is lost with monthly periods. Pregnant women also need more iron to support the needs of their growing baby. Athletes and women with high levels of activity have higher iron needs because their bodies use more oxygen during exercise, says Persak.

While the RDA for iron is 18 milligrams for women ages 19 to 50, pregnant women need more (27 milligrams) for their growing babies and breastfeeding women need less. (10 milligrams) as a lactating woman does not have a monthly period and is not. loss of blood. Dr. “It’s possible to take in too much iron, so if you’re supplementing regularly, be sure to talk to your health care professional about the right amount of iron for you,” Frick advises.

Fish Oil

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and shellfish, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), offer many benefits to women, says Dr. Frick. “EPA and DHA are important for promoting brain health and repair, eyes, skin and heart, good fetal development in pregnant women, and maintaining a healthy level of inflammation in the body,” he says. ,” he says.

Because the typical American diet is often lacking in these essential fats, quality can help, advises Dr. Frick. Although it may be difficult to take too much EPA or DHA, she recommends discussing supplementation with your health care provider, especially if you are pregnant, taking medications that may affect your blood or have future medical practice. That’s because fish oil can increase the risk of bleeding.

Magnesium

Magnesium is found in leafy greens, vegetables, nuts, seeds, milk, whole grains and fortified foods. The mineral is needed to control blood sugar, blood pressure and muscle and nerve function. It is also needed to produce protein, DNA and bone. “Getting fit is especially important for women because of the number of benefits they offer that are targeted at women,” says Persak. They include:

  • Bone health: Magnesium plays an important role in the regulation of calcium and vitamin D, the two main participants in bone nutrition and maintenance, says Persak.
  • Improved blood pressure: “Magnesium dilates or relaxes blood vessels, which has a blood pressure-lowering effect,” says Persak. “This not only helps prevent heart disease, but it also helps prevent pre-eclampsia, a type of hypertension.” bleeding that can occur in women during late pregnancy, he explains.
  • Headache relief: Magnesium can reduce the frequency of migraines, which may occur in women.

Women need 310 to 320 milligrams per day or 350 to 360 milligrams during pregnancy. Magnesium may interact with other medications, so talk to your doctor or pharmacist before starting a supplement.

Calcium

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, important for bone health. It is often found in dairy products such as milk and yogurt, vegetables such as kale and broccoli, and canned sardines. Calcium is stored in bones, and not getting enough can make them weak and prone to fractures. Although all women need calcium, it is especially important in the following groups:

  • Girls ages 9 to 18: During this period, most of the bone growth and development takes place. For this age group, 1300 milligrams of calcium is recommended every day.
  • Older women: To maintain healthy bones, women should consume 1000 milligrams of calcium per day.
  • Postmenopausal women: Due to the decrease in estrogen after menopause, women need more calcium (1200 milligrams per day) to prevent bone loss. However, it is important for older and postmenopausal women to be careful when adding calcium as some studies have shown that it can cause deposits in the arteries and increase the risk of death. of the heart.

Although dietary sources of calcium are preferred, Persak says supplements can help women who avoid or limit dairy products or who don’t get enough calcium in their diet. He says the body can only absorb calcium in doses up to 500 milligrams, so higher doses should be divided.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is found in foods such as egg yolks and fatty fish such as tuna, salmon and trout. The body also makes it after exposure to sunlight. It helps your body absorb calcium and works with minerals to prevent osteoporosis. It is also important for muscle, nerve and immune function.

Women may need to supplement with vitamin D if they don’t get enough sun, are postmenopausal, or have had gastric bypass surgery or inflammatory bowel disease. African-American, Hispanic or Asian women may need to supplement because darker skin makes it more difficult to absorb the sunlight needed to produce vitamin D.

The daily needs of vitamin D are 600 international units for older women, increasing to 800 international units for women over 70, says Persak. He suggests checking your D levels with a blood test before starting supplementation to determine your needs. “If there’s a shortage, rates can range from anywhere between 1,000 international units to as high as 10,000 international units, and 2,000 international units to 5000 is normal.” Excessive supplementation can be toxic so it is important not to use drugs alone and to have conditions re-evaluated after supplementation.

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