As we get older, it seems like our health gets more and more confusing. Is this just an ache in my neck because I fell asleep binge-watching my favourite show on Netflix or because I have a serious and deadly disease? Should I ignore it or spend all day staring at WebMD trying to figure it out while forgetting to blink?
The good (and sometimes bad) news is that there is an infinite amount of information and opinions out there to guide you through your latest and minor health issues.
If we’re thinking we’re dealing with something serious, we know well enough to visit our health professional but what about when we start to feel like we could feel just a bit better? Maybe a bit more energy?
Here’s the thing with us women, there are some nutrients that we are commonly deficient in and sometimes supplements or foods that give us those specific vitamins and minerals can make a big difference.
Here are a few of the common nutrients women over 30 tend be lacking:
Many middle-aged and older women struggle with getting enough iron. Women who still get their menstrual cycle need 18 milligrams of iron per day. Women who no longer have a menstrual cycle only need 8 milligrams of iron daily. But sometimes the issue isn’t that we’re not eating enough dark-leafy greens but that our body isn’t absorbing all the iron we’re eating. Drinking orange juice or lemon water with our spinach salads is a good idea because vitamin C increases iron absorption in our bodies. Or make sure to wash down your iron supplements with some fresh lime juice and sparkling water!
Calcium is vital to keeping our bones strong and healthy. Broken bones are not something we have time for, right? Make sure you’re getting calcium-rich foods every day like tofu, squash, seeds, beans and lentils, almonds, or a calcium-rich protein powder! We like starting the day off with a protein shake but you might find a supplement is the easiest way to ensure you’re getting enough calcium.
With many people going vegetarian or vegan, the popularity of meat-free sources of Vitamin B12 has been increasing as well. Without enough Vitamin B12, we’re susceptible to anemia, weak bones, depression, and low energy. The good news is that most fortified non-dairy milks contain B12, as does flax seeds, walnuts, nutritional yeast, or chlorella!
Depending on where you live, may nutritionists recommend a Vitamin D supplement for everyone. Every day when it isn’t summer. But if taking a supplement isn’t your thing, you can always eat Vitamin D-rich foods like mushrooms or fortified foods to ward off a variety of diseases like cancer.
Just like Vitamin B12, vegans and vegetarians need to be mindful that they’re getting their omega-3 fatty acids. Any health expert will tell you that the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids really can’t be overstated. They’re important for keeping diseases away, fighting anxiety and depression, maintaining healthy eyes and heart, and keeping inflammation down among many other things. Luckily for vegans, there are a variety of algae-based supplements you can take in addition to finding it in foods like flax or chia seeds, hemp seeds, squash, and wild rice.
Want to learn more? Read our article ‘Is it Time to See a Nutritionist?’ next!