Folate

The Best Supplements For Women

Do you want to stay in tip-top shape this summer but need a little help? Supplements are a great way to enhance your workouts, have all of your essential vitamins A-Z, and even help to burn fat at a faster pace.

Even though nutritionists agree that the best source of nutrients is through whole foods, sometimes we all just need a little help. If you’re new to the supplement game, let this guide help you choose what you should be taking for a better body.

RELATED: Check out the Top Foods For Fighting Daylight Savings Fatigue here

Iron

There is no denying that a large number of women are suffering from an iron deficiency – and they don’t even know it. Iron fulfils a few major roles in the human body, one of which carries oxygen and helps to produce red blood cells. Even though iron is found in lots of red meat, chicken, fish and whole grains, you can also take it in the form of a chewable supplement, or even a pill.

Calcium

There’s no denying that calcium plays a central role in keeping both our bones and teeth strong. And while some women don’t enjoy the taste of dairy, or are lactose intolerant, this doesn’t mean that it should compromise healthy bones, teeth and stable hormones. Calcium supplements are readily available, but you should contact your doctor before relying solely on daily pills.

Be cautious that calcium deficiency is more prominent for women who are menopausal, and this can lead to devastating disorders such as osteoporosis.

Vitamin A

Although much of the emphasis is placed on Vitamin’s B, C, and D, but Vitamin A is crucial for the healthy function of eyes, skin, and even our immune system. If your body is severely lacking in Vitamin A, you can increase your dose through a daily multivitamin, or even booster shot administered by your doctor.

Folate

Whether you’re trying to conceive, in the middle of your pregnancy, or simply none of the above, folate should always be large part of your diet. Not only is it essential for the creation of healthy red blood cells, but folate is also important for proper brain function and mental health.

Folic acid is found in many supplements such as multivitamins, but you can also find more concentrated doses if you find yourself with a folate deficiency.

Vitamin C

Rather than just fighting off your cold or flu, Vitamin C also helps the body to produce collagen, and also exists as an antioxidant. It’s fairly obvious to spot a Vitamin C deficiency – brittle hair, gingivitis, bleeding gums, and easy bruising are all common signs. Although scurvy is a form of Vitamin C deficiency, it is somewhat rare to transmit this disease at this day and age in Australia if you follow a healthy diet.

You can find absorbic acid in multivitamins, but also as a stand-alone supplement if you’re suffering from a major deficiency.

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October 8, 2014

Nutrients And Vitamins Important During Pregnancy

It’s no secret that when you’re pregnant it’s important to keep healthy and ensure you’re eating a balanced diet comprising of fruit, vegetables, protein, whole grains and healthy fats.  However, there are some vitamins and nutrients that need special attention when you’re expecting and you need to ensure you are getting enough of them to promote your baby’s growth and development.

Folate or Folic Acid

Folate is a B vitamin that is found naturally in certain foods and folic acid is the synthetic form of the vitamin that is created in a laboratory and added to foods and supplements.  In the early stages of pregnancy folate is essential for the healthy development of a foetus, especially the neural tube which is the structure that eventually forms the brain and spinal cord.  Folate helps to reduce neural tube defects such as spina bifida so ensure that you are getting plenty of it, ideally starting to take it when you are trying to fall pregnant.  The best source of folate is from leafy green vegetables, beans, legumes and citrus fruits.

Calcium

Calcium is important for you and your baby’s healthy bones and teeth as well as playing an important role in allowing your blood to clot and muscles and nerves to function properly.  If you’re not taking enough calcium when you’re pregnant then your body will take it from your bones which is putting you at risk of developing Osteoporosis.  Ensure that your diet is rich in calcium to avoid this from happening.  Foods that have a great source of calcium include milk, cheese, yoghurt, salmon, cereal and spinach.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important during pregnancy because it helps your body to absorb calcium which keeps bones and teeth strong and healthy.  Great sources of vitamin D include salmon, tuna, milk, fortified cereals, pork, eggs and mushrooms.  Of course, the other source where you can get your daily vitamin D dose is from the sun.  How long you need to spend in the sun to get your daily dose varies between different people, their locations and the time of year but generally about 15 minutes of sunshine is enough for your body to produce vitamin D.

Protein

Protein, made up of amino acids, is responsible for the growth of your baby’s cells as well as helping with brain development and blood production.  Getting enough protein when you are pregnant is vitally important, especially in the second and third trimesters when your baby grows the most rapidly.  The best sources of protein are lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts and beans.

Iron

Iron is found in red blood cells and carries oxygen around our bodies.  When you’re pregnant iron is needed to produce extra blood cells to cater for the growth of the baby.  Women with low levels of iron during pregnancy become fatigued and are at risk of developing iron deficiency anaemia which can cause premature births and low birth weight.  Iron can be found in a number of foods including lean meat, iron fortified breakfast cereals, beans, nuts and vegetables.  Occasionally an iron supplement may be needed, especially for women who were iron deficient before they were pregnant.

As well as eating a healthy balanced diet, consider taking a pregnancy multivitamin which can boost your vitamin levels.

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July 16, 2014

Folate – An Essential Part Of A Pregnancy Diet

Everybody needs folate but if you are pregnant or are of a child bearing age and there is the possibility that you may fall pregnant (whether you are planning it or not), then it’s especially important that your everyday diet is rich in folate. Because our bodies don’t store folate for long periods of time, we need to ensure that we are continuously supplying our bodies with this important vitamin.

What is folate and how is it different to folic acid?

Folate is a B vitamin that is found naturally in foods such as leafy green vegetables, beans, legumes and fruits. Folic acid is the synthetic form of the vitamin that is created in a laboratory and added to certain foods and supplements.

What does folate do?

Folate is used to make our DNA. It helps to produce and maintain new cells which is especially important during times of rapid cell growth such as pregnancy. In the early stages of pregnancy folate is essential for the healthy development of a foetus, especially the neural tube which is the structure that eventually forms the brain and spinal cord. The neural tube closes and fuses very early in life and if this doesn’t happen the result is a neural tube defect such as spina bifida. Folate helps to reduce the risk of this happening.

Where can I find folate?

Folate can be found naturally in some vegetables including broccoli, spinach, asparagus, avocado and lettuce. Certain types of beans such as mung beans, chickpeas and kidney beans are also a rich source of folate as well as legumes, citrus fruits, seeds and nuts. Folic acid can be found in many fortified foods including some breads, cereal, pasta and rice.

During pregnancy our bodies need more vitamins than usual to keep us and our babies healthy, so as well as ensuring our diets are rich in folate it is recommended that we take a folic acid supplement. Start taking the supplement as soon as you start trying to fall pregnant because if you wait until you realise you’re pregnant then it could already be too late.

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By Karyn Miller

July 2, 2014