Women have very specific nutrient needs and sometimes it can be difficult to get them all from diet alone. Learn the best vitamins for women, here.
As a woman, you have very specific nutrient needs, but choosing the right supplement can be extremely overwhelming, especially as the market seems to be flooded with more choice than ever. To make things more complex, what vitamins you need will change depending on several factors such as diet and lifestyle.
Whether you’re looking for a multivitamin to fill in the gaps or a single supplement to support the proper functioning of your body, we’ve got you covered with our list of the 10 most essential and best vitamins for women.
In most cases you can get all the vitamins and nutrients you need from whole foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats, but sometimes you may not get enough from food alone, particularly if you’re vegetarian or vegan. Here’s the best vitamins for women that you should be including in your diet:
Iron is responsible for a great deal of things in your body including carrying oxygen, aiding in the production of red blood cells, supporting immune function and cognitive development and it even helps you regulate body temperature. If your body’s deficient in iron, it can reduce how many red blood cells are produced, resulting in anaemia.
One of the reasons iron is so important to women is because when blood loss occurs during periods, this reduces the iron stores in the body. If you experience heavy periods, it could be a good idea to take a supplement and ensure you’re eating enough iron-rich foods like lean red meats, leafy green vegetables, chicken, turkey, beans and whole grains and cereals.
Magnesium is one of the best vitamins for women as it helps to maintain normal muscle and nerve function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps bones strong, steadies heart rhythms, regulates blood sugar levels and helps to maintain normal blood pressure. It’s essential for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body and deficiencies can cause chronic vomiting, diarrhoea and migraines. Magnesium is present in green vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and unrefined whole grains.
Calcium’s not just an essential vitamin for kids, you know! In fact, women start to lose bone density in their 20’s and by ensuring you have enough calcium in your diet or by taking a supplement, you can help to keep your bones, teeth and muscles healthy! You’ll find calcium in dairy and leafy vegetables like broccoli.
By ensuring you’re getting enough vitamin A in your diet you can maintain the function and development of your eyes, skin and immune system! This vitamin is in leafy green vegetables, sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, fruit, dairy, fish and fortified cereals.
Vitamin C and E are both antioxidants which help to support healthy skin. Vitamin C can also help to support a healthy immune system and has a hand in the creation of collagen which is essential for skin’s elasticity and overall health. Vitamin C is present in all fruits and you can get enough vitamin E from vegetable oils, cereals, meat, poultry, eggs, fruit and vegetables. There are also vitamin E oils and moisturisers enriched with it that you can apply directly to your skin.
Essential for bone and cell growth, immune and neuromuscular function, vitamin D is an essential vitamin for women. You should be able to get enough vitamin D from sunlight exposure from late March to the end of September, but it’s important to note that if you have darker skin, there’s a high concentration of melanin which blocks UVB sunlight which is needed to produce vitamin D in your skin. Vitamin D is potent in salmon, tuna and fish oils, but you can also take supplements if you’re experiencing a deficiency.
Omega-3 is one of the best vitamins for women, especially as you get older as it can help with memory, mood and also reduces blood pressure and inflammation. Due to its ability to reduce inflammation it may help with arthritis, heart disease and joint issues. To ensure you’re getting enough omega-3, eat fatty fishes such as tuna, sardines, salmon and mackerel or plant and nut oils. If you’re not a fan of seafood, you can also take capsules.
Also known as vitamin B9, folate supports brain health, cell reproduction and helps with speech and memory too. If you’re considering having children or are pregnant, folate is one of the best vitamins for women and it’s actually a key ingredient in prenatal vitamins, being most beneficial when taken around 6 months before pregnancy. When taken early, vitamin B9 has been proven to reduce birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. Folate is present in leafy green vegetables, avocados, beans, eggs and peanuts. You can also take the synthetic form as a supplement which is called folic acid.
Vitamin B-complex is made up of 8 vitamins: thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), vitamin B6, biotin (B7), vitamin B12 and folic acid. These vitamins helps to convert food into energy, support digestion, maintain healthy hair, skin and eyes and ensure the proper functioning of the nervous system, metabolism and brain sharpness; niacin in particular also supports the cardiovascular system. You’ll find B vitamins in supplements and naturally in fish, poultry, meat, eggs, dairy, leafy green vegetables, legumes, cereals and breads.
Zinc is widely considered as not only one of the best vitamins for women, but one of the best for people in general. This is because zinc helps to develop T cells which are essential to the proper functioning of the immune system and can also fight off cancerous cells and viruses. On top of this, zinc aids with healing, blood clotting, taste and the stability of blood sugar.
If you’re unsure about what vitamins you should be adding into your diet or are worried you have a deficiency, always consult your doctor.
That’s our list of the top 10 best vitamins for women! Wondering what your kids should be having too? Read our guide on the best vitamins for kids next!