Women are constantly on the move, balancing work, chores, family, you name it. Their busy schedules can cause other things, including their health, to get pushed aside.
According to Dr. Sutter, the five items below are essential to any woman’s health. They’ll improve how you look and feel and make a positive impact on your long-term health.
1. Vitamin D Gel CapsIf you feel tired, depressed, or achy, don’t chalk it up to the winter blues. You might not be getting enough Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is produced when sunlight hits the skin – but not in Buffalo.
“You have to live south of the Ohio valley to make vitamin D in your skin,” said Dr. Sutter. “My medical school professor said that you could sit naked on the roof of ECMC for 365 days of the year and not make one nano-gram of Vitamin D.”
You can get Vitamin D from oily fishes, such as salmon and herring, but Dr. Sutter said that most people aren’t eating the four servings each week that they need.
To combat Vitamin D deficiency, take supplements. Dr. Sutter takes 2000 IUs of Vitamin D3 daily. She recommends gel caps over pills because Vitamin D doesn’t absorb as well in pill form.
Take your Vitamin D pill with your biggest meal of the day for faster absorption.
2. Foods with CalciumCalcium helps to keep your bones and teeth strong. According to the National Institutes of Health, the body also uses calcium to move muscles and carry messages to the brain.
Pre-menopausal women need 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day.
As you’re shopping, look for these foods that are high in calcium:
- Milk – 300 milligrams (one glass)
- Cheese – 300 milligrams (half-slice)
- Frozen yogurt – 125 milligrams
- Calcium-fortified orange juice – 200 milligrams
While calcium is best obtained through food sources, women who don’t eat dairy will need a supplement. “Some studies have shown that calcium supplements increase your risk of dying from heart attack or cardiovascular disease; other studies saw no such increase,” said Dr. Sutter.
If you’re opting for supplements, Dr. Sutter recommends Tums.
“Two extra strength Tums is 500 milligrams in calcium. Take two in the morning and two at night.”
Why twice a day? Your body can absorb only 500 milligrams of calcium at one time, so you have to split doses to absorb the full 1,000.
3. V8 JuiceVitamin C is needed to grow and repair tissues in the body. When you’re deficient, you could have trouble fighting infection, bruise easily, and have dry hair, rough skin, and weakened tooth enamel.
The National Institutes of Health says that the best way to get enough Vitamin C is to eat a balanced diet. All fruits and vegetables contain Vitamin C, but those with the highest levels include citrus fruits (i.e. oranges and grapefruit), kiwi, pineapple, strawberries, broccoli, and tomatoes.
If your diet is lacking, Dr. Sutter recommends drinking a V8 daily in lieu of taking a Vitamin C pill.
4. Centrum SilverDr. Sutter calls Centrum Silver her "multi-vitamin of choice."
“When you take a multi-vitamin, if it says that it’s for women, that’s a code word for ‘too much iron’. I like Centrum Silver because 'Silver' means it has no iron in it. It’s higher in the Bs, and it has more Vitamin D in it.”
5. Fish OilA daily fish oil supplement can moisturize your hair, skin, and eyes. This moisture is especially beneficial for post-menopausal women.
Fish oil can also reduce your risk of disease. “Fish oil is a profound anti-inflammatory,” said Dr. Sutter. “Cancer, cardiovascular disease, rheumatory arthritis, Crones – all are inflammatory processes.”
Dr. Sutter recommends taking four 1000 milligram capsules of fish oil each day.
She warns against buying cheap fish oil – “You will burp carp,” she said – and prefers the fish oil products at GNC or Feel Rite.
Take your fish oil supplement with your biggest meal for faster absorption.
How will you know if you’re deficient in vitamins and minerals? Blood work, often prescribed by your primary care physician, can check your levels. Follow the tips above and you’ll be on the right track for a positive outcome.