Are you someone who feels fatigued or cold most of the time? Well it could be the nutritional deficiency in your diet caused by a hectic schedule, unawareness or an improper diet. Inadequate intake of vital nutrients can lead to various health disorders specifically in women. It is often observed that women tend towards developing nutritional deficiencies far more than men. “The most common deficiencies I have seen in my clients in the urban set up are Vitamin D 3,B12, iron, calcium. Lack of nutrition knowledge, stress, poor good choices, long hours of work, poor quality sleep, lack of time to source and prepare during lockdown has been a challenge.” says Nutritionist Shiny Surendran, Chennai-based holistic nutritionist, author, entrepreneur.
Nutritional Deficiencies in Women
From A to C and all the way to Omega 3 here are so commonly found nutrient deficiencies in women and ways to fix them.
1. Vitamin A
A fat soluble vitamin which helps to keep your eyes, bones, skin and hair healthy, Vitamin A is a nutrient which helps in important bodily functions and exists in 2 basic forms which are
- Provitamin A: Provitamin A is found in plant based foods such as fruits and vegetables with pro vitamin beta- carotene being its most common type which is rich in antioxidants and protects the body cells against the damage caused by free radicals.
- Preformed vitamin A: Found in animal products such as eggs, meat, fish and dairy products and is often found in the form of retinyl acetate or retinyl palmitate.
It helps in building a strong immune and reproductive system. An essential nutrient which should be a part of our daily diet or might cause issues such as dry skin, night blindness, throat infection, dry eyes, acne, infertility, dry eyes and much more. It is important for you to keep your vitamin A in check.
Food rich in Vitamin A
2. Vitamin C
Before getting into this let me burst a myth for you, vitamin C is not just found in citrus fruits. The king of all the vitamins, Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid and is essential for the growth, development and repairing of the body tissues. It also helps with the production of collagen, helps fight premature aging, wound healing, maintenance of teeth and bones and what not. Deficiency of Vitamin C can cause low iron absorption and a weak immune system.
Vitamin C protects our health and prevents diseases like cancer, eye diseases, stroke, cardiovascular diseases, scurvy, weak immune system and bleeding gums. Make sure that you are taking an adequate amount of vitamin c in your daily diet.
Food rich in Vitamin C
3. Vitamin D
Remember the times you avoided the sun to protect yourself from that sun tan because you were taught that being fair means looking lovely. Well this one's for all those who followed society's idea of beauty and are now suffering from a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that can be stored in our body for a long time. Vitamin D exists in 2 major forms
- Vitamin D2: Also known as ergocalciferol which is found in plants like mushrooms, yeasts and plants.
- Vitamin D3: Found in dietary products, eggs, meat, fatty fish, etc which is also known as cholecalciferol.
Vitamin D helps in better absorption of phosphorus and calcium in our body and also plays a key role in immune functioning of our body. Deficiency of vitamin D can result in weak immune system, fatigue, mood swings, digestive problems, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, joint and muscle pain and other such problems.
Food rich in Vitamin D
- Red meat
- Egg yolk
- Salmon Fish
- COD liver oil
An important nutrient which is the main constituent of hemoglobin in your body as it promotes the production and development of the red blood cells (RCB’s). As these red blood cells are the one’s which carry oxygen from your lungs and carry it to the different parts of your body.
The deficiency of iron in the body can lead to the health condition called anaemia which is more likely to happen in women as they lose a lot of blood during their monthly menstrual cycle.
Food rich in Iron
- Red meat
We all have been told to drink enough milk since childhood to boost our calcium levels in order to have strong bones. Apart from helping with the development and regeneration of bones, calcium also helps to maintain the proper functioning of your heart, muscle contraction, prevent clotting and for proper functioning of your cardiovascular system.
Adequate intake of calcium can help you to prevent diseases like cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, dental problems, skin conditions and chronic joint and muscular pain.
Food rich in calcium
- Soya Fish
- Green Leafy Vegetables
6. Omega 3
A group of polyunsaturated acids, Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for proper body functioning. Omega 3 fatty acids are proven to be good for your eye health, as omega 3 is a major structural component out of which your retina is made. It can help fight inflammation, Autoimmune diseases and can also help with age related mental issues like alzheimer.
Omega 3 also helps to prevent diseases like ADHD in children, various heart diseases and metabolic syndrome.
Food rich in Omega 3
- Plant oils
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
Magnesium is a vital nutrient that your body needs as it is important for many biochemical reactions that take place in your body such as conversion of food into energy, creation of proteins from amino acids, creation and repairing of DNA and RNA in our body, the contraction and relaxation of the muscles, fighting depression and much more.
Deficiency of magnesium in the body can cause chronic health issues such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, hypertension and osteoporosis.
Food rich in magnesium
- Pumpkin seeds
With inputs from Nutritionist Shiny Surendran, Chennai-based holistic nutritionist, author, entrepreneur
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