It is challenging for many women to get enough essential nutrients through their regular daily diet. As we get older, our bodies don't absorb some nutrients as good as they used to.
Also, extensive training and very restrictive diet programs can deplete their body's supply of vital minerals and vitamins for some women.
If you think that your body lacks some vital nutrients, then here are top-recommended nutrient-dense foods and supplements that you should consider adding to your diet.
What Vitamins And Minerals Should a Woman Take?
To maintain vitality and a youthful look, every woman should consider including these nine must-have nutrients in their daily routine.
Calcium is a vital mineral found in our bones and teeth. About one percent of calcium circulating in the blood is essential for supporting muscles, heart, blood clotting, and normal cell function.
If the calcium levels in the blood drop, 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
- May reduce the risk of kidney stones
2. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
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
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
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
- 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
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
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
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 the 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
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 a 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
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, the following foods can help fill in the gaps.
What Are Nutrient-Dense Foods?
When foods are described as being "nutrient-dense," they have a lot of nutrients. 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.
Eggs don’t get enough credit for their comprehensive nutritional value as 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, you should regularly consume these antioxidants. 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
If you're a vegan or vegetarian looking for a good plant-derived protein source, you won't find one better than legumes. Also called pulses, legumes belong to a food group that 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 that 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
Probiotic foods contain healthy bacteria that 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?
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 with sodium, sugar, additives, and chemicals.
These foods above are very nutrient-dense and contain a plethora of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. 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.