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Do you constantly feel weak and lack energy? Wondering why your nails break or peel and you lose hair with the sack? Check if you are missing any of the 13 essential vitamins for health and beauty and how to get them naturally based on a balanced diet, without supplements or substitutes. Women need us more of these vitamins than men, due to the painful processes that take place in our body, such as menstruation, pregnancy, etc. By including the necessary vitamins in your diet daily, you will feel physical at all times. and psychological well-being, you will maintain glowing skin, strong nails and hair and, of course, you will strengthen your body to be healthy. The essential vitamins for women!
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A helps in the growth of cells and tissues that make new cells constantly, such as skin, bones and mucous membranes. One form of it, rhodopsin, is found in the eye and helps our mind to distinguish images in the dark! Lack of vitamin A can result in dry eyes and the phenomenon of ‘night blindness’, ie difficulty in seeing in the dark. You will find it in foods such as dairy, cereals, liver and fish.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D controls how much calcium our body absorbs from food and how much is eliminated. Lack of it causes ‘osteomalacia’, a condition that makes our bones more and more sensitive and soft and more prone to fractures, something that should mainly concern us women who are 4 times more likely than men to get osteoporosis! Recent research has linked vitamin D deficiency to diabetes, obesity, some autoimmune diseases and fetal weight disorders for pregnant women! If you want to make sure you get enough of this vitamin, include fatty fish in your diet, such as salmon, cheese, egg yolks, and make sure you are exposed – in moderation! – to the sun’s UV radiation.
3. Vitamin E
You’ve probably heard of ‘free radicals’, those … malicious substances that are produced by our body and destroy cells. Well, guess what! Your No. 1 weapon against the harmful effects of free radicals is vitamin E, which works as an antioxidant and blocks them. In addition, E works with K to balance blood clotting. Lack of vitamin E can cause blood clots. Rich in this vitamin are vegetable oil, seeds, whole grains and vegetables such as broccoli, kale and nuts.
4. Vitamin K
This vitamin helps blood clot, preventing increased bleeding when we cut. For us women in particular, it also has a positive effect on our bone health. If you lack vitamin K you will bruise very easily and it will take you weeks to close a wound from a cut in the blood! Its deficiency also contributes to osteoporosis. Vitamin K can be found in vegetables such as spinach and broccoli and, in smaller quantities, in vegetable oils and cheeses. A form of K is also produced by bacteria that live in our gut, making it one of the two vitamins (the other is D) that can be produced by our body. Extra tip! Vitamins A, D, E, K, belong to the so-called fat-soluble vitamins, which, because they are stored in the body, can become toxic if taken in too high a dose and above the recommended, which is usually done by arbitrarily consuming dietary supplements without the suggestion of our doctor!
5. Vitamin C
The queen of vitamins, helps, among other things, in the regeneration of tissue, the formation of collagen that maintains the health of our skin, hair and nails and supports the health of the eye. It strengthens our immune system and helps in the absorption of iron by the body, which we women need in double amounts due to the blood we lose every month with the period. Lack of vitamin C can cause scurvy, a disease that destroys tissue and makes healing difficult, causing joint pain, tooth loss, bruising and sudden mood swings. Although orange is famous for its vitamin C content, it can still be found in strawberries, pineapple, mango, brussels sprouts, colored peppers and tomatoes.
6. Vitamin B1
Also known as ‘thiamine’, it regulates along with other B-complex vitamins the functions of the endocrine, cardiovascular and digestive systems, as well as the processing of food into energy, helping us to maintain a healthy metabolism. Lack of it can cause obesity, heart failure, muscle weakness, confusion and memory loss. Eggs, pork, seeds, nuts and legumes are rich in this vitamin.
7. Vitamin B2
‘Otherwise known as’ riboflavin’. In addition to helping to process food for energy, it contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system, protects cells from oxidative stress and maintains a healthy state of red blood cells, skin, eyesight and mucous membranes. Lack of it can cause liver and nervous system problems and skin diseases. Those women who take contraceptives are at particular risk of deficiency. Sources of vitamin B2 are dairy, eggs, green vegetables, liver, royal jelly and cereals.
8. Vitamin B3
We have also heard it as ‘niacin’ and it contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system and the maintenance of good psychology. Participates in the chemical reaction created by sex hormones and helps reduce the feeling of fatigue. Its deficiency causes confusion, dermatitis, diarrhea and dry mouth. Meat, fish, nuts, dairy products and legumes are rich in vitamin B3.
9. Vitamin B5
The medical term is ‘pantothenic acid’. This vitamin helps maintain a normal metabolism and produce energy from food. It also helps in the synthesis of steroid hormones and vitamin D, as well as in the performance of the mind. Lack of it can lead to depression, stress, headache and cramps. Natural sources of vitamin B5 are dried fruits, nuts, meat, beans and, of course, avocados.
10. Vitamin B6
According to others, ‘pyridoxine’ participates in over 100 chemical reactions in the body, helping the function of metabolism, the regulation of hormonal activity, the function of the nervous system, etc. In our women, especially, it helps in the production of serotonin and dopamine that are related to our mood! Lack of it, in addition to anemia and irritation of the skin and lips, can cause a lot of nerves and even depression! Vitamin B6 can be found in wheat, potatoes, spinach, peas, meat and carrots.
11. Vitamin B7
‘Biotin’, processes fats and proteins. Controls blood sugar levels and helps maintain healthy skin, hair and nails. Lack of it causes hair loss, fatigue and peeling of the nails. We can ensure its intake from foods such as liver, yolk, avocado, dairy and nuts.
12. Vitamin B9
You may also hear it as ‘folic acid’ and it is involved in the synthesis of DNA and RNA and the division and proliferation of cells. It also helps in the smooth development of the fetus during pregnancy. Vitamin B9 deficiency can cause weakness, anemia, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, vitiligo and hair loss. Rich source of vitamin B9 are yeast, spinach, beans, lettuce and asparagus.
13. Vitamin B12
Scientists also refer to it as ‘cobalamin’ and it is the ally of B9 in the synthesis of DNA. It also contributes to the development of normal nerve function. Lack of it can cause irreversible nerve damage and anemia. As it is mainly found in animal products, you should pay special attention to those of you who are vegetarians or vegans, who should – always on medical advice! – take the required amount of supplements. Sources of vitamin B12 are dairy, eggs, meat, poultry and fish. Extra tip! B vitamins and C belong to the so-called water-soluble vitamins. These, if not used, are discarded. Thus, it is almost unlikely that side effects or toxicity will result from their increased intake. A balanced Mediterranean diet gives us all the 13 most important vitamins for health and beauty we need! Remember to prefer whole grains and eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day!