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8 Essential Vitamins For Women Over 40 And Their Food Sources

Over the age of 40, a woman needs to consume a little bit extra vitamin than usual because, at this age, a woman is slowly going into menopause. Studies point out that most women tend to overlook their health, such as skipping meals, lack of intake of proper nutrition and so on.

Vitamins and nutrients play a major role in improving and maintaining your overall health, especially after hitting the age bar of 40. Your body probably isn't working the same way at 40-plus as it was at 20.

Your body undergoes several changes such as,

  • Muscle mass starts to deteriorate
  • You may put on weight quicker
  • The risk of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes begins to increase etc.

While it is always important to eat well, whatever age you are at, it becomes especially essential around age 40 because that is when the rules start to change (for your body and its metabolism) [1][2].

Women aged 40-plus are more likely to be dealing with poor digestion, hormonal imbalances, and nutrient deficiencies. If you feel tired all the time and have painful joints, it may be time to increase your vitamin consumption [3]. These vitamins, which have been listed below, should be consumed once a day or a week.

Take a look at the beneficial vitamins for women over 40 and the food sources you can gain these vitamins.

Vitamins For Women Over 40

The vitamins beneficial and essential for women over 40 are as follows:

  • Vitamin B 12
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Omega-3s
  • Probiotics

Health Facts For Women Over 40: What To Look Out For And Mistakes To Avoid

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1. Vitamin B12

The most important vitamin for women over 40 is B12, which is essential for normal blood and brain function [4]. When you are younger, the body absorbs the necessary amount of B12 from foods, but B12 is more poorly absorbed (as the stomach acid levels deplete). Besides consuming foods rich in B12, you can start getting B12 from a supplement or multivitamin. The daily vitamin B12 requirement for women over 40 is 2.4 micrograms (mcg) a day.

Foods sources of Vitamin B12:

  • Meat (beef, liver and chicken)
  • Fish (trout, salmon, tuna fish, and clams)
  • Milk (low-fat), yoghurt and cheese
  • Eggs
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
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2. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is different from other vitamins because it can absorb most of this vitamin when exposed to sunlight. The fat-soluble vitamin plays a major role in calcium absorption into the bones [5]. Deficiencies in vitamin D have been linked to diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and breast and colorectal cancers [6]. You should include Vitamin D3 supplements in your diet. The daily vitamin D requirement for women over 40 is 15 mcg.

Food sources of Vitamin D:

  • Fish (mackerel, salmon and tuna, shrimp)
  • Mushrooms
  • Milk, butter and yoghurt
  • Cod liver oil
  • Egg
  • Orange juice
  • Oats
  • Soy products such as soy chunks, soy butter and soy milk

Vitamin D-rich Foods And Healthy Recipes

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3. Calcium

Termed as the single most necessary mineral for your bone health, especially as you age. Calcium plays a major role in improving your overall health as well. The mineral is critical for growing new bone and maintaining your bone strength and the proper functioning of your heart, muscles, and nerves and promoting proper blood clotting [7]. Apart from the food sources, you can take calcium supplements after turning 40 if the diet is deficient in the vitamin [8]. The daily calcium requirement for women over 40 is 1,200 mg approx. (1,000 mg a day for women 40 to 50, and 1,200 mg for women older than 50).

Food sources of Calcium:

  • Milk, yoghurt, and cheese
  • Calcium-fortified beverages such as almond and soy milk
  • Dark-green leafy vegetables such as kale spinach etc.
  • Dried peas and beans
  • Fish with bones
  • Calcium-fortified juices and cereals

Calcium For Adults: Why You Need Calcium, Recommended Daily Intake And Food Sources

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4. Iron

Anaemia is prevalent in women more than men [9]. While men need around 8 mg of iron in their daily diet, women need up to 18 mg. Women over 40, though they do not have to be as concerned as women of childbearing age when it comes to iron-deficiency, still need a good amount for overall health. Apart from taking iron supplements, the below-mentioned foods can also help.

Food sources of Iron:

  • Red meat, pork and poultry
  • Seafood
  • Beans
  • Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach
  • Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots
  • Iron-fortified cereals, bread and pasta
  • Peas

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5. Magnesium

Magnesium is a key mineral that stabilises blood pressure and is highly important for women over 40, especially the ones who are the risk of high blood pressure [10]. Magnesium helps the body absorb calcium and promote muscle, nerve, and heart functions; as you age, the body's ability to absorb calcium reduces drastically, so taking magnesium supplements and/or magnesium-rich foods mentioned below can help. The daily recommended allowance of magnesium for 40 years (plus) year old women are 310 mg.

Food sources of Magnesium:

  • Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach
  • Dark chocolate
  • Avocados
  • Legumes such as lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas and soybeans
  • Nuts such as cashews, almonds and Brazil nuts
  • Seeds like flax, pumpkin and chia
  • Whole grains
  • Tofu
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6. Potassium

According to studies, in postmenopausal women, a higher intake of potassium from food decreased stroke risk [11]. It is an essential vitamin required for women over 40. However, if you are taking potassium supplements, make it a point to stick to the daily recommended amount, and that is, 3,500 mg.

Note: Excessive consumption of potassium supplements can damage the gastrointestinal tract and the heart and can cause potentially life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias.

Food sources of Potassium:

  • Bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, honeydew, apricots, grapefruit
  • Cooked spinach and broccoli
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Peas
  • Cucumbers
  • Pumpkins
  • Leafy greens
  • Fishes like cod, tuna etc.
  • Legumes such as kidney beans and soybeans
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7. Omega-3s

One of the primary benefits of omega-3s is that they can help minimise ageing's negative effect, like heart disease and cognitive decline [12]. Omega supplements help lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of stroke, and boost memory and are extremely beneficial for women over 40. The daily requirement of omega 3 is a minimum of 250-500 mg.

Food sources of Omega 3s

  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Cod liver oil
  • Oysters
  • Sardines
  • Anchovies
  • Flax and chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Soybeans
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8. Probiotics

While these do not belong to the list of vitamins required for women over 40, probiotics get an additional shout out due to the important role in improving a woman's health [13]. According to studies, probiotics play a role in keeping the gut healthy and weight down, and even in lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, which are commonly reported in women over 40 because it is when the muscle mass starts to decrease, making it easier to put on weight and develop insulin resistance [14].

The most common fermented foods that naturally contain probiotics, or have probiotics added to them, include yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, kimchi, sourdough bread and some cheeses.

Skip The Dairy: A List Of Non-dairy Substitutes For Your Daily Milk, Butter, Cheese & More

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On A Final Note…

Eating a balanced diet can often provide the necessary daily amount of vitamins and minerals that women need. But in some cases, this may not be enough. In that case, your doctor will recommend multivitamins (supplements) that can help improve your overall health, along with the help of regular exercise and a well-balanced diet.

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