What is the recommended daily intake of vitamins for women? Below you will find information on what vitamins and minerals you should be getting, and the best way to get them where they need to be - into your body!
The Minimum Daily Intake of Vitamins for Women
Since our bodies are different, men and women have very different nutritional needs. While the exact nutritional requirements of the female body could literally fill an entire library full of books, here are the FDA's recommended daily allowance of some of the most important vitamins and minerals that you need to stay healthy.
- Calcium is essential for bone and cell health. Women should consume 1,000 mg a day.
- Iron is important for not only for your blood, but for making sure that enough oxygen gets to your body tissue. Try to get about 18 mg of iron a day.
- Vitamin A will help keep your eyes and skin healthy, among other things. 5,000 mg is the amount recommended daily by the FDA.
- Zinc is necessary for immune health, wound healing, and helps maintain your senses of taste and smell. You should consume 8 mg of zinc a day.
- Vitamin B6 and B12 are important for a range of things, including metabolism and brain function. The daily recommended amount of B6 in 1.3 mg, while B12 is 2.4 mcg.
- Folate is necessary to maintain a healthy nervous system and health red blood cell levels. You need 400 mcg a day.
Getting Vitamins Through Supplements
In today's busy world, it's difficult to get enough of the nutrients you need to keep your body in tip-top shape. Finding healthy food on the go, let alone time to cook a fresh, balanced meal, is no simple task. The problem is that your body still needs nutrients, regardless of how little time you have to feed it well. in fact, the busier and more stressful your life is, the more vitamins your body needs to refill its stores!Vitamin supplements were created to fill the gap between what we need to eat and what we actually eat. While supplemental nutrients aren't as easily absorbed as those that come from food, they are certainly better than nothing. The thing to remember is that you can't get all of your vitamins and minerals from a bottle; eating a poor diet and taking a multitude of vitamins will not keep your body healthy.
It's Easy to Overload
While many people out there don't get enough vitamins, there are some that get too many. Getting too much of a vitamin is almost as bad as getting not enough. If you take too many supplements, you can easily overload your body and experience negative side effects, or even overdose! For example, consuming too much vitamin C can cause serious digestive upset and diarrhea if you consume more than your body can easily get rid of. If you're taking supplements, make sure to calculate how much you need versus how much you're taking.
Getting Your Vitamins the Old Fashioned Way - Through Food
The best way to get your daily intake of vitamins for women is through a healthy, balanced diet. Fresh, natural foods contain a wealth of nutrients that are more bioavailable than supplements, meaning that your body can absorb them more easily. Foods tend to provide vitamins that are synergistically linked, making them even more easily accessible to your body. For example, spinach contains both iron and vitamin C, which, when consumed together, actually increases your iron absorption over taking iron alone.
Fresh fruits and vegetables also contain a host of phytonutrients, which medical science is finding are very important to our health. While certain brands of dietary supplements are marketed as containing phytonutrients, these are usually added through the use of dehydrated or freeze-dried greens and are not nearly as valuable as those from fresh foods.
A Note on Pregnancy
Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or hope to become pregnant have even more exact nutritional requirements - generally you will need more of vitamins such as vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folate, and iron. It's become popular to take prenatal vitamins before and during pregnancy, though your body will absorb more nutrients through a balanced diet.
As always, you should talk to your doctor before you make any dietary or nutritional changes. He or she may have valuable input about how certain nutrients will affect you and your baby.