Vitamins, minerals and supplements. Oh my. How do you know what’s what and which ones might be right for you? Well, we all know that there’s no Fountain of Youth and no pill that will guarantee you a long life. But if you’re a female over 40, chances are good that there are supplements out there that may help you achieve your goals of healthy living.
Multivitamins have been around since the 1940s – and according to an Annals of Internal Medicine study, more than half of American women take them. In addition, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) reports that a whopping 68 percent of adults in the U.S. feel safe taking daily dietary supplements.
Of course, the medical community and National Institute of Health (NIH)have long agreed that that the best way to get our vitamins and minerals is through the food we eat. But after 40 years of trying to convince the American public to actually eat that way, the experts are changing their recommendations to reflect the way we really live.
In fact, the American Medical Association is now recommending that all Americans should take a daily multivitamin. The reason? We just aren’t getting the nutrients we need in our diet.
But if men are from Mars and women are from Venus, it’s clear that the many differences between men and women (body size, body make-up, hormones, etc.) mean that the supplements that benefit one gender may not be the best pick for the other.
The same is true of age. As we get older, our bodies may need and benefit from different vitamins and minerals compared to our younger selves.
So if you’re female and 40 (or so), here’s a look at the supplements you most need to keep you healthy from here on out.
Multivitamin. Recommended for everyone, this is a good place to start because it provides all the basics for our nutritional needs. Read the labels and look for ones that focus on women-specific needs as well as your own. Energy, immunity, and metabolism boosters are some examples of the many options out here.
Vitamin C. It helps eyesight, may reduces cataracts, and reduces the length of a cold.
Calcium. Everyone knows this one. Calcium is great for maintaining strong bones and teeth -- and since women begin to lose as much as 1 percent of bone mass each year after 40, this one can’t be ignored!
Vitamin D. This vitamin helps absorption of calcium, but that’s not all! It’s also been shown to be effective in warding off depression, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and even cancer.
Omega3. This one also helps fight heart disease and arthritis symptoms, and is also good for osteoporosis and memory loss.
And also consider:
Black Cohosh. It’s been shown to reduce hot flashes during menopause.
Glucosamine. This one can reduce joint stiffness and pain from arthritis.
Ginger. Because it relieves nausea and motion sickness, this one is great for travelers and pregnant women. It may also lessen the side effects of chemotherapy.
Vitamin B12. An energy-booster, B12 increases your immune system and helps brain function. Just don’t forget to take it!
Vitamin B9 (folic acid). This one prevents anemia and may help blood pressure, heart disease, memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.
Vitamin E. This powerful antioxidant has been connected with the prevention of cancer, heart disease, cataracts and memory loss. And if that’s not enough, it’s also used to fight against aging. Take the pill for overall health -- and apply it in oil or cream form as part of your daily skincare routine.
So while vitamin-rich foods should still be high on your list, daily supplements will ensure you get the nutrients you need. And maybe you won’t feel so bad when you grab that slice of pizza.