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The 6 Nutrients You Need Most
Many women may be missing out on key vitamins and minerals, says Mark Moyad, MD, MPH, director of preventive and alternative medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center. To get what you need, fill your plate with these crucial nutrients and take a multivitamin daily for added protection.
- Regulates sleep, appetite, and mood
- Helps your nervous system function properly
Daily intake: 1.3mg
- 1 baked sweet potato (0.33mg)
- 1 banana (0.43mg)
- 3.5 ounces (the size of a deck of cards) cooked, skinless chicken breast (0.6mg)
- Improves alertness and fights fatigue
- Produces hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells
Daily intake: 2.4mcg
- 8 ounces plain low-fat yogurt (1.4mcg)
- 1 large hard-boiled egg (0.56mcg)
- 3.5 ounces cooked sirloin (1.7mcg)
- Especially crucial in the first few weeks of pregnancy to prevent brain and spinal defects
- Helps lower your risk of colon and breast cancers
Daily intake: 400mcg
- 1/2 cup cooked asparagus (134mcg)
- 1 cup raw spinach (58mcg)
- 1/2 cup cooked lentils (179mcg)
- Strengthens your bones, teeth, and muscles
- May protect against autoimmune diseases and breast and ovarian cancer
Daily intake: 400-800IU (the RDA is 200IU, but will soon be increasing)
- 1 large egg yolk (18IU)
- 1 ounce canned sardines (77IU)
- 1 teaspoon cod-liver oil (453IU)
TIP: Ask your MD for a 25-OH vitamin D blood test to make sure you're not deficient.
- Reduces symptoms of PMS
- May help maintain blood pressure
Daily intake: 1,000mg
- 1 cup skim milk (316mg)
- 1 ounce almonds (70mg)
- 1/2 cup tofu (434mg)
- Crucial for proper brain function
- Boosts energy levels and prevents anemia by helping to produce red blood cells
Daily intake: 18mg
- 3 ounces cooked lean steak (2.7mg)
- 3 ounces shrimp (2.6mg)
- 1/2 cup chickpeas (1.6mg)
TIP: Iron is harder to absorb from plant sources. Vegetarians should aim for 34mg if they don't take a multivitamin.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2007.
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