Women of every age, height, weight, and activity level have at least one thing in common: We need certain nutrients that our bodies don’t make, but require to function properly.
Most experts agree the best source of essential nutrients is whole food: “We get a wide variety of nutrients from eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, often in perfect proportions,” says Women’s Health Nutrition Expert and Registered Dietitian Keri Glassman. “We rarely over or under do it.”
That being said, it’s difficult to know with 100 percent certainty that we’re getting precisely enough nutrients to fend off symptoms of deficiency and related illnesses. Stage cue, supplements! Taking specific supplements is like insurance for those instances when you accidentally consume your weight’s-worth of sweets and call it dinner. (We know—it was just that one Halloween…) And if you have or are at risk for a vitamin and/or mineral deficiency, as may be the case for pregnant women or vegetarians, then your doctor may need to intervene by recommending a supplement.
Your choice to take a supplement depends on your diet and doctor’s recommendation. “When considering supplements, women need to think bones, babies, and bellies,” says Glassman. “Sufficient bone density is needed to prevent osteoporosis, an adequate store of folate is essential for fertility and fetal development, and a healthy waistline lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. Women must also load up on the nutrients that are essential to prevent chronic diseases in the future.”
With these guidelines, we bring you the best supplements for women. Bring the list to your doc to determine which supplements are right for you.