Women are more health conscious than what they were some decades back. Women who are responsible for bearing children and for rearing them, need to look after their health not only during the child bearing years but even after that in order to prevent the onset of ailments like breast cancer. Women are often found to neglect their health as they cater to the needs of their family. Women are slowly realizing that they need to take in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables which will provide them different vitamins and minerals for staying healthy. Vitamins are essential chemicals which are necessary to help the body function properly. As one ages, it is necessary to increase the intake of vitamins not only for younger looking skin as well as ensuring good health and a fortified immune system.
A woman needs 700 mcg of vitamin A daily. During pregnancy and lactation, she needs 70 and 600 mcg extra vitamin A respectively. Vitamin A is needed for development of skin, mucus membrane, soft tissues and bones. During pregnancy, additional vitamin A is needed for supporting growth of the fetus.
Deficiency of vitamin A during pregnancy increases the risk of dry eyes, anemia and infant and maternal death. Older women must consume sufficient vitamin A to prevent cataract and age-related macular degeneration.
A woman needs 15 mg of vitamin E per day. Vitamin E helps in maintaining the cell membranes. It is also needed for formation of red blood cells. The powerful antioxidant effect of vitamin E protects the body cells from the harmful activities of free radicals, thereby slowing down the aging process. It improves heart function, reduces risk of cancers, prevents age-related eye disorders and inhibits cognitive decline.
Vitamin D supports calcium absorption and mineralization of bones. It protects postmenopausal women from osteoporosis. It also promotes healthy cellular development and growth, maintains normal immune function, inhibits inflammation and reduces risk of cancers. About 600 International Units of vitamin D is needed by women each day, up to the age of 70. After 70, a woman needs 800 IU of vitamin D daily.
The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin C is 85 mg for pregnant women, 120 mg for nursing women and 75 mg for others. Studies suggest that vitamin C can protect women from breast cancer.
1.3 mg of vitamin B6 should be consumed each day by women up to the age of 50. After 50, the daily requirement of vitamin B6 rises to 1.5 mg per day. Pregnant and nursing women require 1.9 and 2 mg of vitamin B6 daily. Vitamin B6 supports cognitive function and metabolism. Adequate intake of vitamin B6 can prevent premenstrual syndrome. During pregnancy, this B vitamin may reduce nausea and vomiting.