[dropcap]V[/dropcap]itamins are essential organic nutrients which the body requires in trace amounts to stay healthy but can’t produce on its own. The required balance of these vitamins is so delicate that deficiency or excess of any one of them could lead to severe health issues. Deficiency of several vitamins in women is a socio-cultural phenomenon, which has led to the vicious cycle of malnutrition being transferred from the mother to the child. Rampant ignorance about vitamins, their need, and results of their deficiency is a hindrance to ensuring that women get proper nutrition. We have curated a list of 10 best vitamins for women:
1. Vitamin A:
Vitamin A is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory as well as a fat-soluble vitamin. Its deficiency negatively affects our vision, leading to night blindness as well as leads to misregulation of gene regulation. In women Vitamin A deficiency could also lead to complications in pregnancy, weakening of the skeletal tissues, and increased risk of mortality. Vitamin A deficiency can be prevented by intake of foods rich in Vitamin A. Good natural sources of Vitamin A include carrots, green leafy vegetables like spinach, eggs, milk, and liver. In cases of severe vitamin- A deficiency, your doctor may prescribe vitamin A supplements to ensure the body gets the required amount of the vitamin.
2. Vitamin B:
B vitamins include various necessary vitamins namely Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, and folate. B vitamins aid in neurological development, cognitive growth, conversion of food to energy, lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases, production of red blood cells to name a few. Folate or Folic Acid is critical for the development of the brain and spine of the foetus, it is therefore essential in negating any birth defects. Foods rich in vitamin B include milk and milk products including cheese, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables like spinach, eggs, poultry, beans even some pulses.
3. Vitamin C:
Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant which also exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, it is also known to aid cell regeneration making it an ideal wound healer. Vitamin C also prevents infections, cardiovascular diseases, slows aging, prevents cancer, as well as assists neurotransmission. Deficiency of this vitamin can lead to nosebleeds, inability to fight off infections, slow rate of healing, bleeding gums, dry and scaly skin, and in a severe lack of vitamin C could lead to Scurvy, which can be life-threatening. Vitamin C rich foods include green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, strawberries, brussels sprouts, bell peppers, amla, cauliflower, and tomatoes to name a few.
4. Vitamin D:
Vitamin is available in abundance as it is one of the few components our bodies absorb directly from our surroundings, namely sunlight. Vitamin D helps with bone strengthening, brain development, preventing or regulating diabetes, assists in managing diabetes, aids lung as well as cardiovascular movement. Men and Women are at increased risk of Vitamin D deficiency as we spend more and more time indoors. Lack of vitamin D makes pregnancy difficult for women, culminating in a caesarean section. Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to Rickets, a disease which prevents bone hardening. Vitamin D is available in abundance, 15-20 minutes of sunlight absorption, without the use of sunscreen per week should provide one with enough vitamin D. Other sources of Vitamin D are fish, milk, eggs, and chicken.
Related Read:10 Super foods to help in Vitamin D deficiency
5. Vitamin E:
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. It slows the ageing the process of the body. Along with being a powerful antioxidant it also protects healthy cells and prevents cell mutation, thereby preventing skin cancer. Scientists are now experimenting with vitamin E’s properties to prevent heart diseases, blood pressure even cancer. Despite its several benefits, this vitamin is rather hard to come by naturally, therefore, it is almost difficult to ingest too much of vitamin E. Vitamin E deficiency can cause blindness, weakness of muscles and poor neural transmission. Foods rich in vitamin E include asparagus, mango and vegetable oils.
6. Vitamin K:
Vitamin K is fat soluble, and an important nutrient required to create chemicals which cause the clotting of blood. Apart from its role in regulating injuries, vitamin K also contributes to bone strengthening and prevents cardiovascular diseases. Deficiency of vitamin K can lead to heart diseases, bone weakness, even cancer. Vitamin K rich foods include green leafy vegetables like spinach or kale, cereals, fish, liver, eggs, meat, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower.
Calcium is not just important for bone development. Calcium also aids in functions of heart muscles, as well as assists nerve functions. However, most adult women suffer from a calcium deficiency. It is also a known fact that vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, deficiency of one leads to a deficiency of the other. Calcium deficiency could cause serious diseases in women like diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, even cancer. Calcium-rich foods include dairy products like milk and yogurt. Unregulated intake of calcium supplements may also be harmful, consult a physician before opting for calcium supplements.
Anaemia is the most common disease among adolescents and young women. Iron assists the body in creating haemoglobin, which in turn helps, the body in transporting oxygen through blood from lungs to all other body parts. Symptoms of anaemia include fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, faster heartbeats, poor appetite, brittle nails, cold hands and feet. Foods rich in iron include green leafy vegetables like spinach, beans, eggs, poultry, eggs, meat and fish.
Magnesium is the most common deficiency among women, it is also one of the most important elements the human body needs. Required in trace amounts, Magnesium acts like an electrolyte contributing to the regulation of calcium, sodium, potassium and around 300 other chemical functions within our bodies. Signs of magnesium include cramps, headaches, anxiety and insomnia to name a few. Magnesium-rich foods include green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, and seeds.
Iodine is a necessary element, it helps regulate the function of the thyroid gland. Iodine is also an important element for pregnant women as it assists in the brain development of the foetus. Lack of Iodine could result in health issues like hormonal imbalance, complications in pregnancy, fatigue, hypothyroidism and in some extreme cases goitre which is caused by the swelling of the thyroid gland, which expands to accommodate for the lack of iodine supply. Iodised salts today are the best source of iodine; however, natural sources of iodine include sea-vegetables and seafood.
Study after study has proved that women in developing countries like India are on the lowest levels of the food chain, meaning they don’t get proper nutrition or care. However, what one does not realize is that deficiency caused diseases in a woman also affect her reproductive capabilities, including the development and health of her foetus. The downward spiral of malnutrition states that, if a mother is malnourished, she will give birth to malnourished children, who would then give birth to more malnourished children, and this cycle keeps spiraling downward with every generation, resulting in a generation with severe developmental issues. Thus, we request you to pay attention to yourself as well as to the life givers and care providers in our lives.
In case, you feel you are displaying some symptoms of vitamin deficiency, consult your doctor immediately. Increase more vitamin rich foods in your diet and if you cannot eat certain vitamin rich foods, consult your doctor before taking supplements. If your doctor has given you the green signal for using supplements for certain vitamins, you can order the same from Medlife website or Medlife app, we offer a 25% discount on first time orders and flat 20% off on every order from there on.
Read Also: 10 Symptoms Women Should Not Ignore
News on Women Health:
More than Half of Young Age Women are Unaware of their Fertility Limits:
– 7th Aug 2018
There are multiple health issues that affect women of all age groups. When a young age woman reaches puberty, it is important to educate her about physical and psychosocial maturation and also make her aware of fertility limits. An Australian study has revealed that the ratio of women aware about the fertility decline age is less than half while the rest still needs to be educated on the same. It is also found that though many young age people want to have children, only a few of them really understand the biological limit concept on natural conception.
A research was conducted on students from 1,215 University of Melbourne aged between 18-30 to know their fertility knowledge and future plans. Only 45% of young women and 38% of young men correctly identified that 35-39 is the age range from which a woman’s fertility starts declining. Unfortunately, above half of the women who are surveyed expected to be having a child above 35 years of age.
Only 18.3% of young men participants’ and 16.9% of young women participants’ knew about the men’s fertility that it begins to decline between 45-49. A report published in Human Fertility says that young men and women overwhelmingly were interested to have a family later, with less than 8% of young generation showing less interest.
The lead author who conducted this study, Dr. Eugenie Prior said it was a matter of concern that a large number of a young woman wanted to have children at a declining fertility period, noting that those women are making such decisions about their succeeding fertility without enough knowledge to make an informed decision.
Additionally, a woman also said they want to reach certain milestones before having children. About 83% of young age women said they want to complete their studies first, while 72% said that they wanted to settle down first in a permanent employment and then look for having children. Around 65% of young women said they want to advance in their career before thinking of having children.
Dr. Raelia Lew, a Reproductive endocrinologist & fertility specialist said the survey mirrored the lack of knowledge and a huge social disconnect between the views and goals of young generation and biological reality.
Another expert on this study, Dr, Prior said that she was astonished to see that roughly as many young age men were looking forward to having children in the near future as young age women, highlighting an essential need to educate all young men and women about fertility.
However, it is estimated that a large number of young men and women want to become parents in the future, but they also look out to achieve a lot more things before. Such things highlight the importance of educating them about fertility limits along with giving them necessary social supports which will allow them to become parents at an ideal biological age, balancing their goals and aspirations at the same time.