Vitamin B(eautiful): Nutrients To Help You Stay Healthy and Gorgeous

January 14, 2012  |  
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Women are uniquely different from men, and their dietary and nutrition needs are no exception. A deficiency in essential vitamins can lead to fatigue, a reduced resistance to infection and compromised health. Knowing what vitamins to include in your diet may prevent health problems for women in every stage of life.

Check out these 7 vitamins that are necessary to your health and should be incorporated into your life today!

1. Vitamin A

Vitamin A includes carotenoids and retinol. Aside from keeping your eyes healthy and preventing age-related blindness due to macular degeneration, vitamin A also acts as an antioxidant. It neutralizes free radicals, which potentially damage your cells. It also appears to boost your immunity. Vitamin A is important in women’s diet as it acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from cancer and other diseases.  Beta-carotene, which is sometimes called pro-vitamin A, can be found in fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, guavas, carrots, pumpkins, apricots and all green leafy vegetables.

2. Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine helps in metabolism and with brain function. It can help you boost your memory too! If you are deficient in this vitamin, you can have anemia, poor brain function and even depression. Bananas, cereals, oatmeal, avocados, beans, meat or poultry, and seeds are rich in vitamin B6.

3. Iron

All women, especially those over 40, need adequate amounts of this essential nutrient. Women lose twice as much iron as men and are more likely to be deficient, particularly during the childbearing years.  Iron enriches your blood and fights fatigue. Spinach and leafy greens are classic iron choices, but you can also get your daily dose with healthy snacking. Dried fruits such as apricots, figs and raisins are hidden gems of iron. Try tossing them into recipes for salads, rice dishes and more. Also, be sure to buy dried fruits that don’t contain added sugar.

4. Vitamin B9/ Folic Acid

Vitamin B9, or folic acid, is very important particularly during pregnancy. If you do not take sufficient amounts of folic acid during pregnancy, your child could suffer from a poorly developed nervous system and mental retardation. This vitamin is also important for the production of blood cells, thereby preventing anemia. Folic acid, or Foliate, is also essential in the development of the central nervous system. This key nutrient also helps to make DNA and RNA, the building blocks of cells. It also prevents alterations to DNA that can lead to cancer. Adults and children require foliate to build normal red blood cells and prevent anemia.  Food sources of foliate include vegetables such as spinach and greens, asparagus, citrus fruits, melons, strawberries, fortified grains, legumes and eggs.

5. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, also called cyanocobalamin, plays a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood, as well as for good metabolism. Sources of this vitamin include milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, meat and fish. If you are a vegetarian, you are at a higher risk of deficiency of this vitamin. Therefore, you need to take daily vitamin B12 supplementation.

6. Vitamin C

Also called ascorbic acid, vitamin C serves as an antioxidant and is important in facilitating wound healing. It helps in the formation of collagen, which is needed in great amounts for the repair of wounds. It also helps in the production of new red blood cells, which deliver oxygen to your brain and to the other cells of your body. The benefits of vitamin C may include protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling. Vitamin C is present in citrus fruits, grapefruits, strawberries, tomatoes and broccoli.

7. Vitamin D

Also called cholecalciferol, Vitamin D is a steroid vitamin, a group of fat-soluble prohormones, which encourages the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous. People who are exposed to normal quantities of sunlight do not need vitamin D supplements because sunlight promotes sufficient vitamin D synthesis in the skin. It is also important in the maintenance of strong and healthy bones and a deficiency of this vitamin can cause you to have osteoporosis. You can get this vitamin by exposing yourself to early-morning sunlight, and eating fish and vitamin-fortified products.

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