The following nutrients are all vital to health and fitness and are ones that women are most likely to be deficient of. Vitamins and minerals are to your body what gasoline is to your car. They’re the fuel that helps keep your engine going, ensuring that all of your organ systems are able to function properly.
What You Need It For: Calcium gives bones and teeth their strength and has been shown to lower the risk of osteoporosis in women. Your body also uses this mineral for nerve and muscle function, blood clotting and maintaining a proper hormonal balance.
How to Get More: Dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese are the best sources of calcium. Green leafy vegetables like bok choy and spinach are also rich in the mineral.
2. Vitamin D
What You Need It For: Your body can’t absorb calcium without vitamin D, which is why many calcium supplements include the vitamin. It’s also important for immune and nervous system functioning.
How to Get More: Small doses of UV exposure allow your body to naturally produce some vitamin D; however, the risks of the sun outweigh the benefits. Most doctors recommend getting the vitamin from cereals and milk that are fortified with the nutrient or from eggs or canned salmon.
What You Need It For: Potassium help to regulate fluid levels in your body, acting as a balance for sodium. The mineral has been shown to address hypertension and promote healthy bones.
How to Get More: Potatoes, plums, raisins and bananas are among the best sources of potassium.
What You Need It For: Iron is used to make hemoglobin, the part of red blood vessels that carries oxygen throughout your body. Not getting enough iron can lead to a shortage of red blood cells known as anemia.
How to Get More: Beef, oysters, potatoes, lentils and nuts all provide iron.
5. Omega 3
What You Need It For: No, it’s not technically a vitamin but so many people lack omega 3 in their diets that this nutrient deserves a place on the list. Omega 3 fatty acids are necessary for brain and heart health and fights inflammation. They also help to keep your skin and hair looking great.
How to Get More: Cold-water fish like salmon, tuna and halibut are the best sources of the types of omega 3 that most people do not get enough of–EPA and DHA. A third form, ALA, is found in nuts and seeds.
6. Vitamin C
What You Need It For: Vitamin C protects the body from free radicals that contribute to aging. It’s also a must for healthy skin, cartilage, gums, teeth, bones and blood vessels. Plus, vitamin C bolsters the immune system and helps your body absorb iron.
How to Get More: Citrus fruits are excellent sources of vitamin C. Many other fresh fruits and vegetables also contain the nutrient.
7. Vitamin B6
What You Need It For: Also known as pyridoxine, vitamin B6 helps your body use amino acids, the building blocks needed to produce proteins. The nutrient also supports hemoglobin production for healthy red blood cells.
How to Get More: Whole grains, wheat germ, brewer’s yeast and red meats are good sources of vitamin B6.
Studies have found that the best way to increase levels of vitamins and minerals is through eating healthy foods; however, if you find it hard to stick to a balanced diet, you can talk to your doctor about taking a multivitamin or standalone supplements. Receiving a monthly health and fitness subscription box each month helps to make it easier to remain focused on overall health and fitness as a lifestyle.