Do You Really Need So Many Supplements?
It is estimated that there are more than 50,000 dietary supplements available. But do we really need them all or is it just a great big marketing hype? Let’s have a look at which vitamins and minerals we can easily get from our diets and which are the best supplements for women to take.
The Supplement industry is one of the fastest growing industries and it is estimated that millions of people are regularly taking vitamins and dietary supplements. Figures show that over half the adult population in the U.S and nearly one third of the U.K population take at least one dietary supplement every day. They have been convinced that these pills, potions and liquids are essential for good health and to prevent illness.
There are certain supplements for women that can assist us on our journeys to becoming healthier and fitter females. And we do all need enough vitamins and certain minerals for our bodies to function properly and efficiently. But do we really need to be taking so many artificial versions? Or can we not get most of our daily requirements of these essential nutrients and supplements, just by making sure that we are eating a healthy well-balanced diet.
There are 13 different vitamins that are vital for daily health and eight of these are actually different types of Vitamin B. A couple of these vitamins are water- soluble which means we cannot store them in our bodies, but need to stock up on them from our daily diet. So let’s have a look at why we need them and how we can get them from our food choices.
This is a fat soluble vitamin and is essential for your immune system to fight infections, for good vision in dim light, reproduction and helping the heart, lungs and kidneys perform properly.
Foods that are good sources of Vitamin A are beef, liver, salmon, cheese, egg, milk, yogurt and oily fish. Also foods that contain Beta-Carotene are also valuable as this is turned into Vitamin A in the body and examples of these are carrots, red peppers, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, as well as fruits such as mangoes and papaya.
This is a water-soluble vitamin that actually comes in 8 different parts (B1 B2 B3 B5 B6 B7 B9 B12) and is often referred to as Vitamin B Complex. These vitamins have many important functions within our bodies. Though they are not actually energy providers themselves, without enough of them your body will lack energy. They all have several different roles in the body but one of their most significant ones is to probably to use the fuel provided by carbohydrates, fats and protein and produce energy from them for the body. If would like an in-depth explanation to what each B vitamin does have a read of this great resource from Wikipedia.
Some foods are really good sources of one B vitamin in particular whereas others have several of them. But all the different types of Vitamin B are found in so many different food sources. So it is easy to get enough of all of them with a healthy varied diet.
Just some of the sources of the different vitamin Bs are milk, eggs, yogurt, whole-grains, leafy green vegetables, lean meat, liver and chicken. Also lots of different fruits like berries and bananas, as well as seeds, nuts and pulses. So as you can see it’s pretty easy to make sure you get enough of all these vitamins in your diet.
This water soluble vitamin which is also known as Ascorbic acid is a powerful antioxidant and helps with boosting our immune system and wound healing. It plays an essential role in protecting our cells and helping maintain healthy connective tissues.
Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C; especially citrus fruits, strawberries and melons and other yummy tropical fruits. Not forgetting some of my favourite veggies, such as red and green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and sweet potatoes.
The sunshine vitamin has several important functions within our body such as helping with the immune system and the absorption of calcium and phosphorous. It is needed for our teeth and bones and women especially need it to prevent osteoporosis. Getting enough vitamin D is also important to prevent disease, fight depression and can even help boost weight loss.
So how can you get this valuable vitamin? The best way is to just get out in the sun for 10 minutes each day and your body will produce this fat soluble vitamin naturally.
There are a few types of food that contain Vitamin D such as egg yolks, seafood such as salmon, sardines and shrimps as well as fortified milk, yogurt and orange juice. If you do have trouble getting out in the sunshine daily this may be one vitamin that women might want to consider taking especially as we get older.
This is another fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role as an anti-oxidant in the body. As well helping the immune system and being required for many of our organs to function properly. It is also known for helping to naturally slow ageing. It can help maintain healthy skin by improving its moisture and elasticity. Vitamin E can also help with PMS symptoms, as well as increase energy, by promoting blood circulation and therefore fighting fatigue.
Avocados, sunflower seeds, mangoes, kiwi fruits, broccoli, spinach and tomatoes are some of the best sources of vitamin E. Along with almonds and hazelnuts, and nut butters
This is the vitamin necessary for blood clots to form so that our wounds stop bleeding when we get injured, as well as supporting our bone health.
The green vitamin is found in found in abundance in leafy greens, kale, spinach, broccoli and brussel sprouts. Berries such as blueberries, raspberries and cranberries are also good sources.
The Essential Minerals
Women need to also make sure they get enough minerals such as calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium selenium and zinc. As they all play important roles in hormone balance, bone strength and other vital functions of the body.
Calcium is essential for healthy teeth and bone strength. It can be found in yogurt, milk and cheese as well as tofu.
Iron is needed to maintain healthy blood, prevent anaemia and help build muscles naturally. The best foods are oyster, liver, red meat, spinach, soy beans, lentils, nuts, pumpkin seeds and some breakfast cereals.
This mineral can prevent thyroid issues and this is important for women. As there has been evidence that there is a link between low thyroid function and breast cancer. Thyroid hormones are also needed for proper bone and brain development during pregnancy.
Iodine can be found in iodised table salt, seafood such as clams, lobster and sardines as well as some dairy products and breads.
Magnesium balances calcium in our bodies and also helps relieve muscle aches and spasms. Lack of magnesium can lead to worsened PMS and osteoporosis. This valuable mineral can be found in many different foods. Such as nuts, beans, brown rice and leafy green veggies, fish, avocados, bananas, dark chocolate to name a few.
We only need a very small amount of this mineral. It can be found in things like seafood, garlic, brown rice, sunflower seeds and Brazil nuts. Your body uses selenium to make enzymes that work as anti-oxidants and help fight against cell damage. Some studies have also shown that it can also help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Finally we also need Zinc to help our immunity, fertility and growth. And some of the best places to get it from are oysters, cashew nuts, spinach and yes dark chocolate.
So there are the essential vitamins and main minerals we need to have a healthy optimally functioning body. As you can see you can get most of them just by making the right choices in your diet. If you find that you really cannot eat the foods that contain these nutrients. Then it may be worth looking at getting an additional supplement.
I’ll soon be looking at other supplements for women that you might want to consider taking to help you achieve your goals on your journeys to a stronger sexier female. In the meantime if you found this post useful or have any questions please do leave them below.