Women place a large demand for nutrients on their bodies as they negotiate a busy world full of stress and toxins. Eating on the run, too many processed and prepared foods, and not enough fresh foods adds up to more calories and less nutrientsii (exactly the opposite of what women need).
Not getting the right nutrients can actually increase your risk for many long term diseasesiii, but not having enough nutrients also means that you probably don't feel at your best right now.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Here are the top nutrients every woman could use:
• A Multivitamin is a great place to start to support overall well-being and can help fill in the gaps in your diet. A good multivitamin for women will have iron (if you are still menstruating), folic acid if you are planning to get pregnant, and a good mixture of antioxidants.
• Omega 3 Fatty Acids (EPA/DHA) are almost non-existent in our diets. Omega 3s calm inflammation and that is part of the reason why they are so helpful to women. EPA/DHA has been shown in studies to be important for memory,iv heart,v mood, and even for healthy-looking skin. Most doctors recommend around 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams of EPA/ DHA a day.
• Calcium and Magnesium: Peak bone mass in women occurs somewhere around 30 years old. That makes calcium an important nutrient to include in your diet or take as a supplement. Your bones, however, are more than just calcium. Magnesium is just as important as calcium in building strong bones and vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium from the digestive tract. Zinc, copper and manganese are needed for building bone.
• B Vitamins: Everyday life (with its stress, toxins) puts great demands on our bodies for extra B vitamins. The B vitamins act as coenzymes and are indispensable for metabolism. It is hard to name a system in the body where B vitamins are not needed. They are part of the immune system, the creation of red blood cells, reproductive system, brain, and energy production.
These essential nutrients can make a change in your long-term health, but they are also important to help you feel better now.
** Material courtesy of Shaklee Corporation Health Sciences
i Ames BN. A role for supplements in optimizing health: the metabolic tune-up. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2004 Mar 1;423(1):227-34. PMID: 14989256.
ii Monteiro CA, Levy RB, Claro RM, et al. Increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods and likely impact on human health: evidence from Brazil. Public Health Nutr. 2011 Jan;14(1):5-13. PMID: 21211100. iii Ames BN. A role for supplements in optimizing health: the metabolic tune-up. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2004 Mar 1;423(1):227-34. PMID: 14989256.
iv Dacks PA, Shineman DW, Fillit HM. Current evidence for the clinical use of long-chain polyunsaturated n-3 fatty acids to prevent age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease. J Nutr Health Aging. 2013 Mar;17(3):240-51.PMID: 23459977.
v Colussi G, Catena C, Baroselli S, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids: from biochemistry to their clinical use in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Recent Pat Cardiovasc Drug Discov. 2007 Jan;2(1):13-21. PMID: 18221098.