Women of all ages often miss six essential nutrients that make a real difference in their health and wellness. Here are the nutrients, why they are important and how best to get them.

POTASSIUM
Only about 1% of women get enough potassium. This mineral helps cut the risk of heart disease and stroke by lowering blood pressure. Studies show that by increasing potassium intake by just 1,600mg per day slashed stroke risk by 21%.  
How much you need: 4,700mg/daily
Best food sources: Swiss chard, lima beans, sweet potatoes, bananas and cantaloupe

VITAMIN E
This vitamin protects against what are called white matter lesions – small clumps of dead cells – that are linked to heightened Alzheimer’s risk. This vitamin is mostly found in foods high in fat.
How much you need: 15mg/daily
Best food sources: Sunflower seeds, almond butter and hazlenuts

CHOLINE
This is an essential micronutrient that supports the liver’s natural detoxification process. Some research suggests that getting enough choline could reduce your risk for breast cancer.
How much you need: 425mg/daily
Best food sources: Eggs, salmon and Brussel sprouts

VITAMIN B12
B12 keeps your central nervous system in working order, which is why too little can lead to numbness, weakness and anemia. Some older people and those with celiac disease tend to have trouble absorbing this vitamin.  
How much you need: 2.4mcg/daily
Best food sources: Yogurt, shrimp, chicken (for vegans, fortified breakfast cereals and nondairy milks)

MAGNESIUM
More than 300 of the body’s biochemical reactions require magnesium says Tina Ruggiero, RD, author of The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook. It helps reduce the risk of fractures, keeps your immune system in fighting form and plays a role in starving off diseases such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
How much you need: 320mg/daily
Best food sources: Spinach, cashews, avocado, brown rice and black beans

VITAMIN D
This vitamin works with calcium to keep your bones strong and reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis.  There’s some evidence that it may help prevent depression and cognitive decline, particularly in older adults.
How much you need: 600IU/daily
Best food sources: Salmon, eggs, fortified milk, fortified yogurt and fortified orange juice

by Marygrace Taylor