Every woman of
childbearing age needs 400
micrograms of folic acid every
day, 600 micrograms if pregnant.
Get folic acid from tasty, nutrientrich
foods, such as enriched
grain products, whole grains,
fortified breakfast cereals, green
leafy vegetables (such as spinach,
Romaine lettuce and broccoli),
oranges or orange juice, avocado,
berries, nuts and beans.
Calcium is one of the
most essential nutrients when
it comes to bone health. Enjoy
high-calcium foods such as low-fat
dairy (milk, cheese and yogurt);
tofu; green leafy vegetables; and
calcium-fortified fruit juices. Aim
for at least 1,000 milligrams per
day (more if you are younger
than 18 or older than 50),
while keeping in mind calcium
intake should not exceed 2,500
milligrams per day.
Vitamin D plays a
role in bone health, strengthening
immunity and regulating cell
growth. Natural sources of
vitamin D include sunlight and
some oily fish such as tuna and
salmon. This “sunshine vitamin” is
fortified in milk and some orange
juices, yogurts, cheese, breads,
cereals, pastas, milk alternatives
The National Osteoporosis
Foundation recommends adults
under age 50 need 400-800 IU of
vitamin D daily and adults age 50
and older need 800–1,000 IU of
vitamin D daily.
Choose green leafy
vegetables, whole grains, beans
and nuts to reap the benefit
of magnesium. Magnesium is
an important part of the more
than 300 enzymes found in
the body, which regulate many
bodily functions, including
the production of energy, body
protein and muscle contractions.
It’s important to consume between
320 and 350 milligrams of
magnesium a day.
The most common nutrient
deficiency for women is iron.
Low iron intake can lead to irondeficiency
anemia. Iron in food
exists as two types, heme and nonheme.
Animal foods such as meat,
fish and poultry provide heme,
which is used most effectively by
the body. Non-heme is found in
plant foods such as spinach and
beans and isn’t as well absorbed
but can be paired with foods high
in vitamin C, such as oranges,
to enhance absorption. Females
ages 19 to 50 need 18 milligrams
of iron per day. If pregnant,
this increases to 27 milligrams.
Women over the age of 50 need 8
milligrams per day.