A woman's body is uniquely different from one to the next but in general, we need a certain amount of vitamins and minerals to keep us in good health. Often we hear experts talking about a balanced diet but what is it really and how much do our bodies need?
Here's a breakdown on the major types of vitamins and minerals essential for every woman.
Calcium - One of the most important for ladies of any age to keep the bones healthy and prevent osteoporosis (which Asian women are more prone of, by the way). It helps lower risk of high blood pressure, reduce PMS and even to lose some extra kgs. A good daily intake should have 1000-1200mg of calcium. Leafy greens, juices, milk and dairy products are good sources.
Folic Acid - Especially important for women of child-bearing age. It is thought to prevent birth defects and certain conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, Alzheimer's, cancer and memory loss. Recommended dosage is 400mcg but for pregnant ladies, it should be at least 600mcg. You can get this from eating dark leafy greens, grains and cereals.
Vitamin D - Many people know that calcium strengthens the bones but what most don't realise is that our bodies can't properly absorb calcium without Vitamin D. Hence, this is one key vitamin for the body, about 400 IU is recommended. It can help reduce PMS symptoms, rheumatoid arthritis and protect your vision. The best way to get Vitamin D is naturally from fortified milk, salmon and egg yolks.
Vitamin E - This is your defense against aging. Healthy hair and skin come from sufficient amounts of Vitamin E as it has the ability to fight cell damage. This vitamin can also help prevent heart disease, cataracts, memory loss and certain types of cancer. The daily intake should be 30 IU; Vitamin E is found in wheat germ, spinach and most nuts like hazelnuts, almonds and peanuts.
Vitamin K - The recommended daily dosage is 90mcg but most multivitamins don't provide close to this number, so check your labels. Vitamin K is important for strong bones, healthy blood clotting and reduce risk of heart disease. If you prefer to get your Vitamin K naturally, eat more dark leafy greens such spinach and broccoli.
Vitamin B6 - An essential vitamin for a healthy immune system and to assist in better hormones and brain chemicals production. This vitamin is key to maintain blood sugar levels as well as reduce depression, heart disease and memory loss. And all you need is the recommended 2mg per day. So eat up more on fortified cereals, beans, poultry and fish.
Vitamin C - The granddaddy of the vitamins family. It is essential as an immune booster to help you heal faster, promote tissue growth and reduce risk of certain cancers, heart disease and tissue damage. Your daily intake should be 60mg and good sources of Vitamin C can be found in any kinds of citrus fruits, dark leafy greens, brussel sprouts and peppers.
Omega-3 Fats - Many ladies run in fear when they hear the word 'fat' but this is the kind of good fat you need. Omega-3 is essential to reduce your risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and bone loss, memory loss and rheumatoid arthritis. Food rich in these kind of fats include fish, flaxseeds and walnuts. Otherwise, you can take supplements like fish oil and flax seed oil.