Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. This is a perfect statement that you can use to describe how different men are from women. And it's not just in the physical appearance or how the brains are wired. Even the nutritional requirements of each gender are different. If you're a woman, it's important to recognize the type and amount of vitamins and minerals that you need are not the same as those of a man.
Antioxidants Vitamins C and E
Both are antioxidants that prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that provides efficient defense against various diseases from the most common colds to something serious like cancer. It is also essential in promoting production of collagen in the skin to keep you looking healthy and young. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) is:
- 90 mg for adult man (19 years and older)
- 75 mg for adult woman
Vitamin E, on the other hand, is a fat-soluble vitamin that effectively guards against heart disease. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) is:
- 15 mg for adolescent and adult man and woman (14 years and older)
- 19 mg for pregnant woman
Bone Enriching Calcium
Calcium is a mineral essential for healthy and strong bones. Women need this mineral for the main reason that they are more prone to bone degenerative diseases like osteoporosis. It may sound unfair but it's true that women start losing bone mass more quickly than men.
Between 20 to 80 years of age, an average woman loses one-third of the bone density of her hip, a staggering rate compared to the one-fourth bone loss in men. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, 68 percent of the total population at risk of osteoporosis is women.
One out of two women over 50 years old will have a fracture related to osteoporosis. As if these rates are not enough to prove the point, it's also noted that three fourths of all osteoporosis cases affect women.
- For this reason, the Institute of Medicine requires women from ages 19 to 50 to get at least 1,000 mg of calcium per day.
- Over 51 years old should increase their intake by 200 mg so that's a total of 1,200 mg.
Sunlight Power Vitamin D
Another essential vitamin that all women should take in more is vitamin D. It has been proven by numerous studies that vitamin D deficiency has been linked to joint pains, high blood pressure, fatigue, and some forms of cancer.
- To avoid this, it is necessary to take in at least 600 IU of vitamin D per day for women 19 to 70 years of age.
- Those over 70 should up their intake to 800 IU.
- Getting a blood test to check your vitamin D level is a good way of knowing if you're getting enough of it.
Folate and Choline
Women of childbearing age should also get enough folate and choline.
- Folate or folic acid, is a B vitamin that is vital for building new cells. Folic acid deficiency can result in increased risk of spina bifida, a major birth defect involving the baby's brain and spine. Women of childbearing age should take in 400 micrograms of folic acid every day.
- Sufficient choline also helps women who are pregnant or lactating. This is significant for proper growth of blood vessels in the brain. Choline should be taken in 450 mg a day. It's 550 mg a day for lactating mothers.
Food versus Supplements
It's very important for women to remember that while supplements may supply them with additional vitamins and minerals, food is still the best source.
- 8 ounce serving of yogurt contains 415 mg of calcium.
- 8 ounces of milk has 300 mg of calcium.
- 3 ounces of salmon has 181 mg of calcium.
- Other sources are tofu, dairy products, leafy greens and calcium fortified orange juice.
Folic acid is present in folate fortified cereals.
Choline can be derived from
Vitamin C food sources are
- citric fruits
- leafy vegetables
Vitamin E can be obtained from
- vegetable oils
As for vitamin D, boost your levels through exposure to sunlight. Spend only a few minutes under the sun without sunscreen for this purpose. Just avoid the hottest hours of the day which is from 10 am to 2 pm. Early morning sunlight is most ideal.