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Women's Health and Nutrition
A healthy diet, regular exercise, stress management, and making sure you are getting the right vitamins is so important for overall well-being. Help to keep systems functioning properly, deal with external and internal stress, and prevent disease by including the best vitamins for women in your diet on a daily basis. Through both food sources and supplements you can supply what your body needs to thrive.
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Vitamin Antioxidants for Women
Some of the most important vitamins for women are also invaluable antioxidants, scavenging and neutralizing the destructive action of free radicals. This becomes increasingly important as the body ages and cells produce more free radicals. Vitamin C, A and E all act as antioxidants in the body.
Vitamin C is very important for women as it is essential for dealing with stress — this nutrient supports healthy adrenal glands and aids in the production of antistress hormones. It is also essential for skin and hair health, improving blood circulation and encouraging the production of collagen. Collagen production is also important for the health of blood vessels. Adding extra vitamin C to your diet can help with varicose veins, tissue healing, and the prevention of abnormal blood clotting.
Vitamin E, which goes after free radicals in cell membranes, while vitamin C works in biologic fluids, is so important for protecting cells from excessive free radical activity. It prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, reducing problems with cardiovascular disease, the number one cause of death for both women and men. Vitamin E also inhibits blood clotting and improves overall well-being by supporting good blood circulation.
Why is vitamin A so important for women? Protecting and maintaining epithelial tissue, vitamin A is an important skin nutrient. Topically it can help reduce wrinkles and age spots. It also protects against infections, is needed for the formation of bones and teeth, and for lowering cholesterol levels.
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The B Vitamins
All of the B complex vitamins are also important for women's health. Some are necessary for the production of sex hormones, they are necessary for nerve health and the metabolism of food. Folic acid, which is sometimes considered as one of the B vitamins and works with some of these nutrients to lower homocysteine levels, is particularly important for pregnant women. It helps to prevent neural tube defects in a developing fetus and may protect against a premature birth.
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Vitamins D and K
Vitamins D and K are also essential for women. They are both necessary for bone health — vitamin D for the absorption and utilization of calcium as well as phosphorus, and vitamin K for bone formation and repair and osteocalcin synthesis. As a woman ages and the risk of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis increases, particularly in the years that lead up to and after menopause, these vitamins become even more important. Vitamin D also helps to regulate heartbeat and enhances immunity. Vitamin K is needed for healthy blood clotting and healthy liver function.
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Are You Getting Enough?
How do you know that you are getting enough of these nutrients in your diet? Ensuring high levels of all of the best vitamins for women over the years can go a long way in preventing degenerative disease, slowing the aging process, and supporting wellness. Make a healthy, well-balanced diet a priority. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, making sure to include vitamin and mineral powerhouses such as green leafy vegetables, onions, garlic, avocados, and berries. Make nuts, seeds, fish, and nutritional oils a regular part of your diet as well. Also, try to get some sunlight for the best source of vitamin D, and consider supplementing with a multi-vitamin.
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Balch, Phyllis A. "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).
Page, Linda. "Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone." Eleventh Edition (Traditional Wisdom, 2003).
Vitamin K and Osteoporosis <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12905754>
photo by Junhao
photo by Steve Jurvetson