Every living being needs nutrition to function. Depending on the biological differences, humans need several nutrients to survive, function. Nutrients are of majorly two kinds: macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients. Macro nutrients contribute to protein, fat, fiber, carbohydrates etc, whereas micro nutrients are the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Macro nutrients provide energy while micro-nutrients prevent diseases.
Man and Woman differ from each other biologically. As per the biological differences, roles and responsibilities they require certain specific vitamins and minerals in more amounts. In this article we will discuss 8 important vitamins and minerals that every woman seeks in her lifetime at different stages.
Differences - Man and Woman
Males and females difference is not limited to sex organs and set of chromosome i.e. XX and XY. Man and woman are distinguished by genes that form certain gonads, internal and external genitalia, physiological hormones, and epigenetics.
All kinds of nutrition are necessary for human beings irrespective of gender. Everybody needs an essential distribution of different nutrition (micro and macro). However, according to the biological performances, physiological changes from time to time, real life responsibilities demand specific vitamins and minerals needed by man and woman.
Important Vitamins and Minerals for Woman
Women’s nutritional needs change throughout life depending on the biological changes, and it’s not always easy to get all the nutrients her body needs. Here are eight vitamins and minerals to be prioritised.
A woman in her lifetimes goes through a number of changes as compared to a man. Changes at physical, mental, and hormonal levels that makes her subject to specific nutrient needs. Nutritional requirement during puberty differs from that of a breastfeeding or a menopausal woman.
It is essential to get a daily dose of vitamins and minerals at any cost understanding its need for its own customised requirement. Here we have listed eight most important vitamins and minerals for women of all age groups.
Calcium is not made inside the body, the bone and muscle nutrient calcium is received through food and supplements. Apart from giving strength to bones it helps manage blood vessels, healthy muscles,nerves and hormones. Calcium needs in women are more crucial than men at every stage of her life. Deficiency of calcium can lead to many health problems, including muscle weakness, cramping, joint pain, decrease in bone mineral density called osteopenia and may lead to chronic osteoporosis. One can avoid Osteoporosis with right care, read here how!
Iron holds the key to many bodily functions. Besides being used to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body, it also helps produce myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles. A lack of this mineral might result in acute weariness. It can cause shortness of breath, an irritated, swollen tongue or lips, and can lead to illnesses like anaemia in severe cases.
Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that is found in green, leafy vegetables and certain fruits. This vitamin is essential for the formation of healthy red blood cells and DNA. This also aids in the formation of cells and tissues such as skin and hair. Folate is a vital nutrient for pregnant women, as it helps to avoid certain birth malformations and abnormalities. Having said that, most pregnant women are advised to take folate, but only with the advice of their doctor.
4. Vitamin C
Unlike vitamin D, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that contains antioxidants that help fight free radical damage, infections, and chronic diseases. At a time when infection rates are high and COVID-19 continues to impact our health, it is important to have foods that help boost immunity and keep illnesses at bay and that's what nutrients like vitamin C specialises in. Available food sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, red and green peppers, kiwifruit and more.
Body needs iodine to make thyroid hormones by Thyroid glands. Thyroid is one the most important hormones and regulates metabolism throughout the body. Most women get plenty of iodine, but pregnant women, who need extra iodine for their developing baby, should take special care to get enough. Good sources: fish, milk, yogurt, cheese, grains, seaweed, and iodised salt.
6. Vitamin D
This sun shine vitamin is fat-soluble that helps boost immunity, promotes bone health and muscle cells. Vitamin D is produced from the skin when exposed to sunlight. Besides sunlight, vitamin D rich foods can be a good source and even supplements can be taken. Vitamin D is needed to absorb Calcium in the body.
7. Vitamin B12
Now-a-days deficiency of vitamin D and B12 have become very common, mainly among urban societies. Vitamin B12 is important for healthy nerves and blood cells. Vegan and older women may not get enough B12 due to food type and absorption capacity. To fulfil the requirement of vitamin B12 one needs to take food: egg, salmon, meat, milk, yogurt.
Not widely spoken as vitamin c or calcium but Magnesium is one of the essential macro minerals that helps maintain a healthy body. It promotes a healthy heart, manages stress, regulates proper sleep cycles and also boosts immunity. Magnesium deficiency may cause frequent headaches and nausea, get muscle pain and cramps and may lose appetite, while also feeling weak and fatigued. In one of the studies, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences recommends that women aged 31 years and above receive a dietary intake of approximately 320 mg of magnesium.
Overall health can be improved and maintained with exercise and by eating nutrient and mineral-rich foods. Vitamins and minerals play an important role in maintaining our health and wellness whereas macro-nutrients are the building blocks.