9 Must-Have Nutrients For Women’s Vitality And Balanced Diet

9 Must-Have Nutrients For Women’s Vitality And Balanced Diet

By Jen Evansy / June 30, 2019

It is challenging for many women to get enough essential nutrients through their normal daily diet. As we get older our bodies don't absorb some nutrients as good as they used to.

Also, for some woman, extensive training and very restrictive diet programs can deplete their body’s supply of vital minerals and vitamins. 

If you think that your body is also lacking some vital nutrients then here are the most recommended supplements that you should consider taking.

Nutrients, Vitamins and Minerals

Essential Nutrients For Women's Health

To maintain a healthy body and youthful look every woman needs to consider including these nine must-have nutrients in their daily routine. These supplements did really help me to feel more energetic and active and also did speed up my metabolism.

1. Calcium

Calcium-rich foods

Calcium is a key mineral found in our bones and teeth. There is about one percent of calcium circulating in the blood that is essential for supporting muscles, heart, blood clotting and normal cell function. If the calcium levels in the blood drop, then the body takes the calcium it needs from the bones.

Women, in particular, are more susceptible to developing osteoporosis than men. So, it is important to include calcium supplements in your diet particularly if you are a vegan, on a high protein diet, have kidney dysfunction, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or lactose intolerant.

Here is how calcium supplements can support your health:

  • Promote optimum bone health and prevent osteoporosis
  • Protect cardiac muscles
  • Help control blood pressure
  • Help maintain optimum body weight
  • Prevent premenstrual depression
  • Ensure healthy alkaline pH levels
  • Reduce the risk of kidney stones and colon cancer

2. Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Fish oils and omega-3 oils benefits

Most women dread the word “fat” but not all fats are bad, particularly monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. An Omega-3 fatty acid is polyunsaturated fat and is essential to optimal health. It is an essential fatty acid, which means your body cannot make it. 

So, you can only get them through diet or supplementation. Omega-3 supplements are quite popular and are commonly available as flaxseed oil or fish oil.

Here are some good reasons why you should consider taking Omega-3 supplements:

  • Improves blood flow
  • Improves brain function
  • Thickens hair
  • Improves heart health
  • Helps the skin glow
  • Lifts depression
  • Helps achy and stiff joints
  • Reduces inflammation in the body
  • Essential for proper fetal growth

3. Magnesium

Foods High in Magnesium

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in our body and plays an important role in the body and brain health. It participates in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. However, women may not get enough of it even if they eat a healthy diet.

Those who take less than the suggested amount of this mineral will probably have more raised inflammation markers, which is associated with some unwanted conditions. Also in the long term, not taking enough magnesium can give you bad headaches, weaken your bones and make you feel more nervous, and is not good for your heart.

Low magnesium also increases the risk of osteoporosis.

Some common benefits of taking magnesium supplements are:

  • Boosts exercise performance
  • Helps fight depression
  • Helps against type 2 diabetes
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Has anti-inflammatory benefits
  • Help prevent migraines
  • Reduces insulin resistance
  • Improves PMS symptoms

4. Vitamin B Complex

vitamin B foods and benefits

Lack of Vitamin B can have adverse effects on your physical and mental health. In modern times, demands of daily life can be quite stressful, so a woman’s need for important vitamins increases. 

Vitamin B complex is also important for supporting the adrenal glands that help achieve hormonal balance and prevent the stress hormone cortisol from being released and stored.

B complex vitamins include:

  • Thiamine (vitamin B1)
  • Niacin(vitamin B3)
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
  • Folic acid
  • Biotin
  • and the cobalamins (vitamin B12)

Benefits of vitamin B supplements:

  • Reduced anxiety and depression
  • Improved mood
  • Reduced PMS symptoms
  • Improved memory
  • Youthfulness and vitality
  • Enhanced fertility

5. Vitamin D3

Vitamin D info

It is believed that over two-thirds of women are deficient in Vitamin D. Our body produces Vitamin D upon exposure to the sun, but due to the amount of time spent indoors and the use of sunscreens, the body fails to absorb the benefits of sunlight. 

Vitamin D3 is also found in some foods like milk, but many women don’t consume dairy products, which puts them at risk of deficiency and several related health conditions.

It is shown that Vitamin D3 builds and supports the immune system and gives our body the ability to fight illnesses including osteoporosis.

Taking Vitamin D3 offer a host of health benefits including:

  • Helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus
  • Treatment and prevention of bone disorders such as rickets and osteomalacia
  • Helps to keep teeth healthy
  • Boosts immunity
  • Reduces the risk of hypertension

6. Iron

Foods high in iron

Iron is so important for women that every women’s vitamin supplement has iron in it. It is a component of hemoglobin, and without adequate iron levels, the blood is unable to transport oxygen from the lungs to the tissues of the body. Iron deficiency can cause symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, bruising easily and difficulty making decisions.

It also plays a critical role in metabolism, which means proper iron levels are important for weight maintenance. Women lose blood every month during menstruation, so they need to ensure that they get enough iron through food or supplementation.

Women who menstruate lose blood (and by extension, iron) every month.

It’s vital to get enough either through supplementation or by the food you eat. Iron supplements offer numerous health benefits:

  • Promotes youthfulness and vitality
  • Improves appetite
  • Contributes to brain development
  • Enhances immunity
  • Aids muscle function
  • Ensures a healthy pregnancy
  • Alleviates Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Provides relief from premenstrual symptoms

7. Folate

Folate is one of the B vitamins, which participates in several key processes. It is needed for the formation of white blood cells and red blood cells, the conversion of carbohydrates into energy and production of RNA and DNA.

Adequate intake of folate is essential during periods of rapid growth such as infancy, adolescence, and pregnancy. It also helps support normal levels of homocysteine in the blood, a heart risk factor.

Folate is found largely in green leafy vegetables. If you are not too fond of eating greens regularly, then chances are that you need folate supplements.

Some benefits of taking folate supplements include:

  • Reduced risk of birth defects
  • Maintaining a healthy heart
  • Lower risk of depression
  • Lower risk of certain types of cancer
  • May reduce the risk of stroke
  • Promotes normal cholesterol levels
  • Great for colon health
  • Reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration

8. Coenzyme Q10

Co-Enzyme Q10 food chart

Coenzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble nutrient. It is a powerful antioxidant and a key component in fuelling the production of energy within cells. Coenzyme Q10 also prevents premature aging and promotes a healthy heart and circulatory system.

It is available in several food sources such as meat, fish, beans, and legumes. However, if your diet does not include good amounts of these foods, or you are taking cholesterol-lowering medication, then you need Coenzyme Q10 supplements because these medications inhibit the body’s ability to produce Coenzyme Q10 or absorb it from food. 

Benefits of Coenzyme Q10 supplementation include:

  • May help treat heart failure
  • Help with fertility
  • Promotes younger looking skin
  • Reduce headaches
  • Increase exercise performance
  • Help with diabetes
  • Play a role in cancer prevention
  • Protect the lungs
  • Good for the brain

9. Probiotics

Human digestive system

When someone tells you that you should eat yogurt regularly, you should listen. The probiotics found in yogurt and kefir are really an important part of a woman’s health.

The digestive tract is full of good and bad bacteria, and it is important to maintain a proper balance for optimum gut health. This is what the probiotics help us achieve.

By adding good bacteria into the system, probiotics help relieve gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, flatulence and bloating. Apart from promoting gut health, probiotics also offer other health benefits.

Some important reasons why women should take probiotics daily are:

  • Helps to get clear and healthy skin
  • Prevents and treats vaginal yeast infections
  • Prevents Urinary Tract Infections
  • Help weight loss
  • Relieves symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Relieves constipation

7 Nutrient-Dense Foods For Nourishing Balanced Diet

The best way to get all the necessary nutrients is to just eat the foods that contain the greatest amount of required nutrients. For women who are not already eating a healthy balanced diet, or are not eating enough nutrient dense foods at all, the following foods can help fill in the gaps.

What Are Nutrient Dense Foods?

When foods are described as being “nutrient-dense,” it means they have a lot of nutrients in them. The nutrient quantity is compared to the number of calories in the food. That is what determines whether it is nutrient-dense or not. If you eat a lot of nutrient-dense foods, then each calorie you consume becomes more nutritious.

If you can add the right foods to your diet, then you will have all the essential nutrients needed to sustain a strong, healthy body.

1. Eggs

nutritious eggs

Eggs don’t get enough credit for their comprehensive nutritional value as a food. If a multi-vitamin were turned into food, it would be an egg because it contains a plethora of nutrients. Now imagine how many nutrients would enter your body if you were to eat more than one egg.

As far as the bioavailability of protein goes, eggs are the top food in this department. They also contain a lot of healthy fats too.

Other Advantages of Eating Eggs

Several antioxidant compounds exist in eggs, including zeaxanthin and lutein, which are the most important ones. If you want to save your eyesight as you get older, then you’ll want to consume these antioxidants regularly. Macular degeneration risks are also reduced.

Eggs have another nutrient called choline in them. People need this nutrient in them for the sake of their health. Unfortunately, most people are deficient in choline. That is a shame because choline is what helps prevent the body from incurring DNA damage or diabetes.

It is better to search for eggs that were raised on pasture because they have more nutrients in them. But if you don’t want to pay the extra cost for these higher quality eggs, then just purchase any eggs which are affordable for you. It is better than not eating any eggs at all.

Remember that eggs have a lot of minerals and vitamins in them. That is why eggs are healthier than most foods in the supermarket. They’re also very affordable too.

2. Avocado

Avocados

Some people call avocados the most nutritious food that you can eat. Contrary to popular belief, avocadoes are fruits and not vegetables. This makes them one of the healthiest fruits in the world.

A lot of Mexican cuisine uses avocado ingredients because they’re tasty and go well with many other ingredients. Guacamole, for instance, has avocados in it. That is why this delicious side dish is so healthy for you.

Avocados are healthy because they’re loaded with micronutrients, healthy fats, and fibrous carbohydrates. In fact, their fibrous content is at a higher level than it is in grains.

You’ll receive cardiovascular advantages from eating avocados too. In one research study, participants were each given one avocado to eat daily. At the end of the study, these participants were at less of a risk of obtaining cardiovascular disease because the risk factors were reduced.

3. Wild Alaskan Salmon

Cooked salmon fillet

Here is another food that is very nutrient dense. For every 100 grams of Wild Alaskan Salmon that you consume, your body will receive 2.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids and 25 grams of protein. There are not too many fishes which are this nutritious for people. Just be aware that some salmon are farmed rather than caught in the wild.

Wild or Farmed? Which is Better?​​​​

You should avoid farmed salmon because they’re commonly given pesticides and antibiotics. Research studies have even shown that regularly consuming farmed salmon can actually increase your risk of obtaining Type 2 Diabetes and becoming obese.

On the upside, there are some advantages to eating farmed salmon. It is known to lower triglycerides and boost HDL levels in the body. Unfortunately, these health benefits are overshadowed by the pollutants which are found in farmed salmon.

For this reason, Wild Alaskan Salmon is the best choice. Not only is this wild salmon, but it is caught off the Alaskan coastal waters. These waters are known for being very clear and unpolluted. Therefore, the Wild Alaskan Salmon is 100% healthy with nothing bad about it. There are no pesticides, antibiotics, pollutants, or anything that is bad.

4. Mushrooms

Mushrooms

There are several types of mushrooms available. Some taste great, but also provide a lot of amazing nutritional benefits too. The shiitake mushroom is perhaps the most nutritious mushroom you can eat. It is nutrient dense and comes with lots of minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.

Research is constantly being conducted into the benefits of mushrooms. Several of the bioactive compounds in mushrooms have only been discovered recently. Some of the properties of these compounds are anti-microbial, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory. They even fight against oxidative stress too.

Therefore, mushrooms are definitely very nutritious food that you should add to your diet. They are an ingredient that can make any food dish delicious. 

Have you tried Mushroom coffee yet?

5. Almonds

Almonds and milk

Almonds are really the best type of nuts to eat if you’re looking for high nutrient density. Simply consuming 28 grams of almonds per day can give you lots of vital micronutrients. You’ll also receive plenty of important antioxidants, including catechin, resveratrol, and quercetin. Consuming these antioxidants promotes better heart health and lowers your chances of obtaining numerous chronic diseases.

If you have low HDL levels, then you’re at a greater risk of getting cardiovascular disease. But consuming just 10 grams of almonds per day can increase your HDL levels by a lot. Between the antioxidants and micronutrients found in almonds, you can’t go wrong by adding these nuts to your daily diet.

6. Legumes

Legumes

If you’re a vegan or vegetarian who is looking for a good plant derived protein source, then you won’t find one better than legumes. Also called pulses, legumes belong to a food group which has beans, peas, soybeans, lentils, and peanuts.

There is a lot of dietary fiber in legumes. This helps improve your digestive health. Since its protein is plant-based, any vegetarian or vegan should add legumes to their daily diet.

Legumes contain complex carbohydrates which supply energy for a long time to the body. Their glycaemic index is low too, which means your blood glucose levels won’t rise after the carbohydrates are converted into energy. If you want to control or prevent diabetes, then legumes are the perfect food to eat for this reason.

The nutrients of legumes include Vitamin B, magnesium, calcium, iron, and antioxidants. Cooking and mixing different legumes create a healthy vegetarian meal that is high in protein.

Be aware that antinutrients like phytates and lectins are in beans. Antinutrients make it more difficult for the body to absorb nutrients. To lower the amount of antinutrient content in beans, soak them in water for a day before you pressure cook them.

One of my favorite ways to add more of these nutritious legumes to my diet is eating this delicious chickpea pasta.

7. Probiotic Foods

Fermented Foods

Probiotic foods contain healthy bacteria which assist in keeping your body healthy and slim. You might even feel better too.

You’ll find probiotics in several different types of foods. Adding them to your diet is not difficult. You can find probiotics in several types of fruits, whole grains, and vegetables.

Check out these 8 most popular fermented foods here>>>

Most Women fail to consume the number of vegetables and fruits that they’re supposed to each day. However, eating vegetables and fruits doesn’t mean you’ll get all the nutrients that your body needs. 

If your fruits and vegetables come from depleted soils or have been manufactured, shipped, and heavily processed, then those foods will suffer nutrient degradation. This is where the nutrients of the foods are lost, such as vitamins and minerals.

Why Nutrient Density Is The Key To Weight Loss?

a woman takes a weight loss selfie

Whole food consumption is a great way to avoid nutrient deficiency and weight gain. The great thing about whole foods is that they’re low in calories. This means your body can absorb more of the precious vitamins and minerals in the foods. The best part is that you won’t feel so hungry anymore, despite the food having fewer calories.

It is so easy to stay on a nutrient-dense diet because you’re not counting calories or avoiding certain food groups. Since you get full faster, it is easy to consume just the right number of calories and not deprive yourself of food. All you need to do is avoid eating processed foods which have sodium, sugar, additives, and chemicals in them.

These foods above are very nutrient-dense and contain a plethora of fiber, vitamins, and mineral. Since there are fewer calories in them, you can eat more nutrient-dense foods and lose weight at the same time. After all, have you ever heard of someone overeating fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains? Of course not, because it never happens. So, don’t worry about counting calories because your body will know when you should quit.

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About the author

    Jen Evansy

    Nutritionists, researchers, and writers, interested in everything healthy-living related. Helping you identify the best diets, learn about food and nutrition, to help you live happier, longer and stronger.

  • Blogger 541 says:

    It is always best to get what your body needs from real food sources but for many people, that is not always possible. Supplements are great for this and I have to agree that these 9 are very important for a woman’s overall health. I would like to add that K2 should be taken with D3 and calcium though as it helps both absorb and function properly in the body. If you have too much calcium in the blood it can lead to calcium deposits!

  • Jimena Canavesi says:

    So many women overlook the importance of magnesium it just shocks me. You would think doctors would be pushing this more. I recently read an article that says most women (and men!) who are over 30 are deficient in magnesium. That alone should encourage people to want to supplement with it. Great list!

    • Jessica Shirley says:

      Magnesium is absolutely another must! It’s just like vitamin D – we don’t get enough of it, so we should all really be supplementing with it! Magnesium is great for taking right at bedtime, too – it’s a muscle relaxant, so it can help you sleep better!

  • Emma M says:

    You mention probiotics here. I have been considering taking them but I have also read that prebiotics are better. I am honestly not sure what the difference is! I get most of what was mentioned in my diet but I do supplement with a women’s once a day. I think it is by New Chapter. They are a great company I recommend to everyone. They are not cheap though!

  • Mackenzy says:

    I am currently taking Multi-Vitamin for Women but the shop I was getting them has now closed down. So I guess Amazon is the next best place to get them or are there any better place I could buy my vitamins from. I am looking for vitamins that are specifically designed for women and their needs. Thank You.

  • motas says:

    Vitamin C is probably the most widely used and probably the most important single vitamin ever. Everyone should take vitamin C. But you need a good quality one like this on that I buy on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2vEbkbZ and don’t get the supermarket vitamins, these are no good. I also, take omega 3 fatty acids.

  • Dzeljana says:

    This is my recommendations for vitamins and mineral and supplements that women should take.
    Folate.
    Magnesium.
    Calcium.
    Vitamin D.
    Fish Oil.
    Vitamin B12.

  • Motas Raluca says:

    I take supplements like Calcium and also Omega 3 Fatty Acids and these work very well!

  • Maria says:

    If I could pick just ONE of these, it’d be magnesium. I can always tell an immediate difference when I start taking it again after being off it for a while. I don’t know what it is, maybe there just isn’t enough of it in my diet, but the biggest thing magnesium does for me is to regulate my sleep. I always sleep a TON better after I’ve taken it. I usually notice a difference the first or second day.

  • Susan514 says:

    Whoa, this looks kind of like my everyday regimen, lol.

    Vitamin D is just a good thing for the modern human to take. We don’t spend a lot of time outside. Anyone with an indoor job is probably Vitamin D deficient, and your body soaks that stuff up – feels SO much better when I’m taking it!

    Magnesium, also super great. Folate is wonderful for women. I’m looking to get pregnant, so I take a prenatal vitamin with lots of folate in it, but it’s good all around. I also have PCOS, so I take the NOW brand of Evening Primrose Oil, and that helps with some of my symptoms.

  • Jessica Shirley says:

    Vitamin D3 is very, very important, especially this time of year! When there’s less light outside, it means we’re getting less of the good stuff, and especially now that it’s cold, we’re not spending as much time outside! And we just spend less time outside in general, as a species these days – did you know that most Americans are already Vitamin D deficient?

    Not just women, but everybody sort of needs this one!

  • This s great for helping women identify exactly what vitamins we need to stay healthy! The only ones I was taking was calcium and Omega-3. I am definitely going to add vitamin D now.


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