Life is all about change. We’re constantly changing from the moment we’re born, and as women we pass through several phases of life where our bodies’ needs fluctuate. From puberty, to pregnancy, to menopause and beyond, we all need certain nutrients that our bodies can’t, or cease to manufacture, but which are essential for our complicated internal mechanisms to function properly.
It makes sense in a perfect world to get these nutrients from the food we eat, but unless you happen to be a nutritionist or a dietician, it’s difficult to know whether you’re getting enough to ward off deficiencies which could lead to more serious problems in the future.
The sale of health supplements is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it can be hard to figure out whether you need a supplement, and if so, which one? The best way to determine if you’re deficient in a certain vitamin or mineral is to see your health care professional. But not everyone wants to be subjected to a barrage of tests. However, if you do suspect that your diet might be a little light on ‘healthy’, (cue the cheeseburger, and small fries on Monday, and the pizza on Saturday) then consider the top 5 nutrients the female body needs to function like a well oiled machine.
- Iron is essential for transporting oxygen throughout the body. It’s a vital factor in the production of red blood cells. It also helps with brain function and cognitive development, as well as regulating your temperature and encouraging healthy cell growth.
- Insufficient iron can lead to anaemia, which in turn can cause you to feel tired and short of breath all the time. Lack of iron can cause problems maintaining body temperature, and for women experiencing menopause, this is a major concern. A healthy immune system relies on iron, and if you experience moderate to heavy blood loss during your period, then it could explain why you feel tired and cranky all the time.
- Most healthy women who eat regular servings of lean red meat, chicken, turkey, whole grains, fish, beans and green leafy veggies will probably be fine, but if that doesn’t sound like you, then you could need a supplement.
- Calcium makes, and maintains strong healthy bones and teeth. Another important function is helping muscles and blood vessels to expand and contract, and keeping the nervous system healthy.
- Throughout life, the amount of calcium we need varies.
- Girls aged 9 – 18 need 1300 milligrams of calcium per day
- Women aged 19 – 50 need 1000 milligrams of calcium per day
- Women over 50 need at least 1200 milligrams of calcium per day
- The most important periods in life to ensure adequate supplies of calcium are during puberty and teens, when bones are still growing, and after 50, when the body’s bone breakdown exceeds formation. Osteoporosis is a major women’s health concern, but adequate calcium can curtail this disease. Calcium is available in milk, yoghurt, cheese and some dark green leafy veggies like broccoli. If you’re not a fan of dairy products or any coloured leafy veggies, then perhaps you need to tick that supplement box.
- Magnesium is often undervalued, though its importance can’t be stressed highly enough, though deficiencies are hard to detect through the normal blood tests. Magnesium helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, heart rhythm, blood pressure and supports the immune system. Magnesium works in conjunction with calcium to keep bones strong. It can help regulate blood sugar and is involved in energy metabolism.
- Magnesium deficiencies can contribute to migraines, vomiting, diarrhea, and those who are unfortunate enough to suffer from Crohn’s disease or other gastrointestinal complaints, could very well find themselves deficient in magnesium.
- You’ll find magnesium in green veggies like okra, some beans, nuts, seeds and unrefined whole grains.
- Folate is essential to help produce and maintain new cells and works on the body’s nervous system’s message relaying molecules for proper brain function. This of course is vital for mental and emotional health.
- Folate is absolutely vital for pregnant women, or those planning to become pregnant. Deficiencies during pregnancy can lead to complications like premature birth and babies born with neural tube defects. Studies show that women who take folic acid supplements before conception and during the first trimester may reduce their risk of having children with neural tube defects by 72 to 100 percent!
- Folate is found in (surprise surprise) leafy green veggies, fruits and beans, and is often added to cereals, breads and pastas.
5. OMEGA 3:
- Omega 3 is most widely known for its ability to help with proper brain (memory and performance) and behavioural function. It also helps reduce high blood pressure and can calm inflammation. Omega is also closely associated with helping reduce the risk of heart disease, arthritis and other joint problems.
- You’ll find Omega 3 in fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna, as well as some plants and nut oils.
You can scour the supermarket and health food store shelves trying to figure out which supplements you need, or you can go with a 100% natural superfood which contains all of the elements listed above. Bee Pollen has it all, and not just the important nutrients listed above.