Like any vehicle, our bodies are tuned to run smoothest when given the right fuel. If we stay on a careful diet, we usually obtain this body-fueling, mood boosting blend of vitamins and minerals from the minimally processed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beneficial fats we eat every day.
While it is wise for our health, few would claim that sticking to a Spartan diet is the most enjoyable route. Maintaining strict eating habits can be a draining crawl, and sometimes we need to recharge and let our willpower stray, so it stands intact the rest of the time. A now-and-then indulgence in savory dinners, or sugary midnight snacks won’t kill us, but it could throw off the levels of vitamins in our bodies, and play havoc with our mood and energy levels.
Supplements are perfect for patching up any nutritional gaps left after a cheat meal or two. However, it’s best to consult your doctor before beginning any supplement routine, as women benefit best from a specific nutritional regimen.
Registered dietician Keri Glassman notes “when considering supplements, women need to think bones, babies, and bellies…sufficient bone density is needed to prevent osteoporosis, an adequate store of folate is essential for fertility and fetal development, and a healthy waistline lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. Women must also load up on the nutrients that are essential to prevent chronic diseases in the future.” To better clarify exactly what those nutrients are, I’ve listed out a few supplements that women might want to consider for a bit of added nutritional insurance.
Found throughout a wide variety of red and white meats, as well as fish, grains, beans and leafy greens, this mineral improves the flow of red blood cells and oxygen, and also bolsters the immune system, facilitates brain development, and contributes to body temperature regulation. Women who skimp on iron, will start to lose red blood cells, and may find themselves at risk of developing anemia, a debilitating condition.
It’s common knowledge that calcium equals stronger bones, however most women might not realize that a daily yogurt or glass of milk slows bone breakdown in women(which begins after age 20), and lowers chances of osteoporosis.
For pregnant women, adequate folate intake is an absolute must; folate deficiency is a major culprit in the premature birth, and neurological dysfunction of infants. Taking folic acid supplements throughout pregnancy has been shown to reduce risks of neural tube defects by 72 to 100 percent. Lucky, folate occurs naturally in many fruits, veggies and beans, and is often added to “enriched” wheat products. Optimal daily doses for pregnant and nursing women are 600 and 500 grams, respectively.
One of nature’s greatest remedies, vitamin C is a powerful healing agent that rejuvenates tissue, teeth, and bones. This wonder vitamin also aids in the production of collagen, a powerful antioxidant, and is a major contributor to vibrant, healthy looking skin. Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence that vitamin C helps dispel the common cold, however it is thought to fortify the immune system.
Resveratrol is the mineral that sparked a thousand conversations about the bodily benefits of red wine. At the moment, those benefits are more speculation than fact, although scientists do have high hopes. David Katz, M.D. at Yale University says that research is currently underway to determine resveratrol’s potential in staving off cancer and even aging.