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5 Preventable Deficiencies for Women

by Louise August 22nd, 2013 | Health Observance, Prevention
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folicIt is difficult to look at the nutritional deficiencies present in the U.S. and try to pinpoint the most prevalent one, because different deficiencies are represented in different areas of the population. Lifestyle choices and regional circumstances can play a role, but the typical nutritional deficiency is a result of not accounting for one’s specific needs, which depends not only one’s stage in life, but also gender. It may seem that what makes a healthy diet for one should make a healthy diet for all (as long as meals are proportionate), but that’s not necessarily the case. Here are the top 5 most common nutritional deficiencies among women in the U.S., and how you can prevent them:

  • Calcium – The average American gets less than half of the recommended daily allowance of calcium, and that’s especially important for pre and postmenopausal women who are at a higher risk for developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones, and inadequate intake of calcium is a preventable factor that causes the disease. Calcium is also needed to prevent to0th decay, brittle nails, and menstrual problems. Get calcium in your diet by consuming dairy products, leafy greens, or perhaps even a daily supplements.
  • Vitamin D – A lack of Vitamin D is another deficiency that can increase one’s risk for osteoporosis, because it helps bodies absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Surprisingly, all it takes to get an adequate amount of Vitamin D is approximately 15 minutes of sunlight without sunscreen. Vitamin D can also come from one’s diet, though it is not readily found in most foods. Vitamin D can generally be found alongside calcium in dairy products and also in salmon, mushrooms, and egg yolks.
  • Iron – Iron deficiency is one of the most common and widespread nutritional disorders in the world. There is a higher occurrence of iron deficiency in women, and one of causes of this is iron lost through menstruation. A lack of iron often causes sluggishness throughout the day, because iron helps energize one’s body and delivery oxygen throughout the body at a better rate. Iron can be found in red meats, leaf greens, and beans. Supplementation may be necessary, especially for vegetarians, and should be discussed with a doctor.
  • Folic Acid – Folic acid is one of the least familiar nutritional needs, and is often overlooked. The majority of American women do not get the recommended amount of folic acid. Adequate intake of folic acid is especially important before and during pregnancy because it helps prevent neural tube defects. Like Vitamin D, folic acid is not naturally prevalent in many foods, though it can be found in leafy greens, beans, and fortified cereals.
  • Magnesium – Magnesium is a mineral needed for forming bones and teeth as well as for normal nerve and muscle function. Magnesium rich foods include leafy greens, nuts, seafood, and dairy products.

A carefully planned diet is one of the most effective ways for women to prevent diseases that are a result of these nutritional deficiencies

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.