It is not enough to eat to remove hunger; we must ensure that our food contains crucial vitamins necessary to help our bodies function properly as women. Studies show that vitamins are essential for normal cell function, growth and development. As we cannot produce all of the nutrients we need, we must get many of them from food, or other vitamin supplements.
Malnutrition is not a term associated with lack of food alone, but when food lacks the necessary vitamins/minerals for body organs to function, it is considered malnutrition. Although vitamins don’t provide strength and energy boost as do carbohydrates and fat, when they are in short supply, it can lead to serious health issues.
Here are 5 vitamins every woman must have in her meal:
1) Vitamin A: Various Vitamins perform separate functions in the body, but it is necessary for women to take Vitamin A which helps in improving eyesight, build immune system, soft tissue, mucus membrane, skin and strengthens bones and teeth. Sources of Vitamin A are: eggs, liver, guava, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc.
2) Vitamin B: This group of vitamin aids metabolism, normal brain function, hormone production, and iron absorption. Deficiency in this vitamin is likely to affect metabolism and impact the immune system. Deficiency in vitamin B12 especially can cause anaemia or worse, permanent nerve damage. To avoid this, foods to take to prevent nerve damage are: soybeans, cereals, nuts and seeds.
3) Vitamin C: Both women and men alike are required to take this particular vitamin as it helps in boosting immunity. Vitamin C helps wounds to heal up faster; it also improves the growth of tissues and in women reduces the risk of developing cancerous cells. Moreover, it aids in developing the red blood cells. Lack of vitamin C will result in no production of collagen, a protein rich substance in the body which also helps in the growth of hair and may cause weakening of the immune system. Vitamin C is found in sweet potatoes, oranges, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, etc
4) Vitamin D: A study in 2010 illustrated that “high doses of Vitamin D lowered estradiol and progesterone. Oestrogen dominance is one of the main causes of infertility and a host of other problems.” Apart from proper absorption of calcium for strong bones, Vitamin D has proven to prevent the development of cancerous cells in women, while it has helped, by 70% to lower the development of cancerous tumours in women with the tendency to develop cancer. Some researches claim that Vitamin D has the potency of modern anti-cancer drugs. Foods rich in Vitamin D includes: egg yolk, liver, fatty fish, and direct exposure to sunlight (which stimulates the body to produce vitamin D).
5) Vitamin E: This is a powerful anti-oxidant that removes potentially damaging substances in the body. Vitamin E prevents free radical cells that are oxidised in the body as a result of natural processes that occur in women. These radical cells have the tendency to cause cancer especially in women, if Vitamin E is lacking in their diets. It also helps in reducing lipoprotein, a molecule that carries cholesterol into blood cells. Rich sources of Vitamin E are: almonds, seeds, nuts, green vegetables, etc.
Benefits of vitamins in the female body or diet cannot be overemphasized. It is important for today’s woman to take cognisance of the importance of vitamins, if she is to live a healthy normal life with little complications. The complexity of a woman’s nature requires she takes necessary vitamins. Moreover, it is advisable to consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
Eat healthy, stay healthy…
Ifeoma Anita Chukwudum