In an ideal world, we all eat an organic diet that is mostly plant-based, and supplement that with whole grains and lean proteins, as well as getting a full night’s sleep every night and plenty of exercise. However, due to life, schedules, work, and other things, sometimes this just isn’t realistic or possible, and it’s easy to get discouraged about our lifestyles and where we would rather be with our health and choices. Supplements and vitamins make it easier, but that can still seem like a tricky or overwhelming option.
With such a wide array of vitamins and fancy new supplements on the market, it can seem overwhelming when it comes to determining what your body’s needs and the best healthful options to meet those needs. What vitamins should I take for energy? Overall health? My age? My gender? Fortunately, we’ve broken down a list of the best vitamins for men, women, and which are most helpful for promoting energy, vitality, and overall health so that it’s easier for you to feel whole and healthy.
What Vitamins Should Men Take?
Men who eat a typical western diet – generally low in vitamin-rich foods like veggies and fruit – experience at least one vitamin or nutrient-deficiency. This leads to lower energy levels, poorer health overall, and greater risk for health complications later in life. Including a few of the right supplements with a healthy diet as consistently as you are able can ensure men are giving their bodies the correct fuel for a healthful life.
Both men and women as adults tend to suffer from a lack of Vitamin D over any other vitamin. Vitamin D is rare in that the human body does not generate it on its own, and it will need to be restored daily. Vitamin D helps men produce healthy testosterone levels, controls blood pressure and cholesterol, and protects brain health. Studies have even shown that men who are deficient in Vitamin D may have an increased risk of heart attack, due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
How To Get Vitamin D: Vitamin D is obtainable by spending 15-20 minutes outside in the sunshine – yes, it can be that easy! In addition, it’s also found in eggs, mushrooms, and dairy products, so make sure to include these in your diet. In colder weather when we spend less time outdoors it will be important to make sure your body is still getting it, so adding a Vitamin D supplement will ensure you’re getting it year-round, and even help stave off seasonal depression.
It’s very rare that men get enough magnesium, which can be a problem. Magnesium is an essential electrolyte that’s involved in 300 of our body’s natural processes and helps to regulate everything from calcium and sodium levels to preventing heart disease, muscles spasms, and headaches. And when men are under a lot of stress, their body blocks absorption and tends to experience lower magnesium levels. Signs of magnesium deficiency are actually very common, and include anxiety, muscle twitches, and interrupted sleep.
How To Get Magnesium: Beans, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens are all magnesium-rich foods that you should include in your diet. However, it’s always a good idea to include a trusted magnesium supplement in your daily ritual, especially with age. As our bodies get older they tend to lose more magnesium through bone density loss, urine, and have reduced intestinal absorption.
Potassium deficiencies are most common in men who take blood pressure meds, men who have a health history of kidney or adrenal disorders, and even in men who exercise more than two hours a day. Potassium is essential for lowering men’s risk of heart disease, which affects 1 in every 3. It also helps promote bone growth, increase metabolism and energy, and aids digestion.
How To Get Potassium: Everyone knows bananas are important to include in your diet for healthy potassium levels, but avocados, beans, and sweet potatoes are other potassium rich foods men should eat on a regular basis. Adding a supplement rich in potassium is also recommended to ensure your body is functioning at its highest potential.
What Vitamins Should Women Take?
While it may seem ridiculous that men and women might need to take different supplements, there are different health requirements that our body’s need to meet at certain ages. Premenopausal women need more iron than men, due to monthly cycles, and after menopause, women need more calcium to prevent bone loss. Our bodies function in different ways, and as such, we’ll need different supplements.
Antioxidant Vitamins (A, C, and E)
Studies show that vitamin deficiencies in women can lead to childbirth complications, a weakened ability to ward of infection, and more difficulty recovering from illnesses. In addition, women whose diet is lacking a healthy balance of antioxidant vitamins are prone to colds, skin damage, and lower energy and brain function. Vitamin C is important to maintain your immune system, while A and E promote and protect healthy cellular function and benefit your skin. Antioxidants are also good for fighting cell mutations and macular degeneration.
How To Get Antioxidants: Citrus, broccoli, leafy greens, carrots, winter squash, almonds, and sunflower seeds need to be included in your diet to ensure you’re getting enough antioxidants for them to benefit your whole body and promote healing. If you’re stressed or unable to keep a consistent diet, it’s best to supplement until you can.
Women really need Vitamin K. It’s important for strong and healthy bones, blood clotting, and preventing heart disease, which is actually the number one killer of women in the U.S. and other places who stick with a traditionally western diet. Taking antibiotics, suffering from intestinal problems, and taking cholesterol medication lowers the amounts of Vitamin K in your body and it will need to be replenished.
How To Get Vitamin K: Leafy greens, broccoli, fish, and eggs are all important to include in your diet to make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin K. As mentioned above, if you’re taking cholesterol meds, recently been put on a cycle of antibiotics, or are feeling constantly fatigued, you’ll want to include a supplement as well as a good amount of veggies in your daily routine.
An iron deficiency is actually the most prevalent vitamin deficiency around the world, especially for young women. Iron is used in the body’s production of hemoglobin, which is a protein that ensures our lungs and other tissues are getting enough oxygen. In addition, Iron also prevents fatigue, a poor immune system, and helps ease menstruation pain. Premenopausal women especially need to make sure they’re getting enough iron in their diets, due to monthly blood loss.
How To Get Iron: Restoring iron in your body can be achieved by eating beans, leafy greens, and including eggs, fish, and meat in your diet. Supplementing with iron is highly recommended for women, however, as it seems that up to 50% of women qualify as being anemic.
Should I Take A Multivitamin?
Multivitamins might seem like an easy quick-fix that isn’t really necessary to our diets, especially if we could argue that we’re getting enough vitamins and nutrients through our diets and other supplements. However, multivitamins are quite beneficial to our body’s overall health, especially if we can’t find the time right away to seek out and include all of the body’s other essential nutrients every day. There are many great health benefits to taking multivitamins, and here are a few of them:
- Most multivitamins contain Vitamin C as a major ingredient, and this vitamin is highly beneficial when it comes to strengthening your immune system and resisting illness.
- Heart disease is one of the number one killers in the US, and studies have shown that heart health improves and the risk of cardiovascular issues is greatly reduced when both men and women include a quality, well-balanced multi-vitamin in their daily ritual.
- In addition to improving organ and immune system health, and helping reduce our risk for cancer, taking a multivitamin daily also benefits our hair and nails. Not only will we feel and BE healthier, but our overall appearance will improve too, as healthy hair and nails grow stronger and less prone to breaking, thinning, or dryness.
- When combined with a balanced diet and good sleep practices, a multivitamin also helps improve our brain function and energy levels, making it easier to handle stress in healthy ways.
We can easily improve our bodies’ overall health and performance by eating right, drinking plenty of water, and including a few high-quality supplements and vitamins in our daily routines. A little effort now goes a long way towards a healthy aging process, managing stress, and detoxifying the body so that we can live our lives to their fullest and most wholesome potential.