Best Nutrition Bets for Women at Any Age

Nutrition, Women's Health
on May 1, 2010
Rebekah Pope

Folate: Reduces your risk for neural tube birth defects and is necessary for red blood cell production and preventing anemia.
How much? 400 mcg/day (if pregnant, 600 mcg/day)
Find it in: Lentils, spinach, asparagus, orange juice, cereals fortified with folic acid

Iron: Aids in production of the hemoglobin that carries oxygen to our cells. Women lose extra iron through menstruation, and during pregnancy iron requirements climb higher.
How much? 18 mg/daily (if pregnant, 27 mg/day)
Find it in: Lean meats, poultry and fish, dried beans, dried fruits, whole grains

Vitamin E: This antioxidant protects cells, nerves, muscles and heart from damaging free radicals, and may hold anti-aging properties for the skin.
How much? 15 mg/day
Find it in: Sunflower seeds; almonds; vegetable oils; dark, leafy greens; peanuts and peanut butter

Magnesium: Regulates blood pressure, is important for bone health and may help relieve perimenopausal symptoms.
How much? 320 mg/day
Find it in: Pumpkin seeds, halibut, quinoa, spinach, peanuts and peanut butter

Vitamin C: Helps resist infections and is essential for wound healing and healthy gums. May also lower risk of cataracts, certain cancers and heart disease.
How much? 75 mg/day
Find it in: Citrus fruit and juice, red peppers, strawberries, broccoli, kiwi fruit

Omega 3s: Protect the heart and may prevent memory loss and menopausal symptoms including depression.
How much? 160-220 mg DHA/day
Find them in: Fatty fish, flaxseed, canola oil, nuts, fortified eggs

B vitamins: Essential for red blood cell formation and converting food to energy as well as maintaining brain function.
How much? 1.1 mg/day (B1), 1.1 mg/day (B2), 14 mg/day (B3), 1.5 mg/day (B6), 240 IU/day (B12)
Find it in: Whole grains; lean meats, poultry; fish; eggs; peanut butter; dark, leafy greens

Zinc: Key in fighting off infection, repairing tissue and even reviving fading tastebuds
How much? 8 mg/day
Find it in: Beef, crab, lamb, dried beans, lentils

All ages
Calcium: Key for healthy bones, regardless of age. 1,000 mg/day (if age 50-plus, 1,200 mg/day) in low-fat dairy; dark, leafy greens; or fortified orange juice.

Vitamin D: You need 500 IU/day (if age 50-plus, 1,000 IU/day) to cut osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease and diabetes risk. Best sources are low-fat milk, canned salmon, fortified cereals