We all know that vitamins are essential for good health and beauty. In fact, a deficiency of Vitamins over a period of time can give rise to specific diseases, while the skin and hair look dull and lack vitality. There are certain essential vitamins that are of great importance to women, especially at certain phases of their life. During and after menopause, for example, women need Vitamin D and Calcium to keep the bones strong and healthy.
Vitamin C is most essential for the immune system, which keeps us free from disease. It is more so now, during the times of the coronavirus pandemic. It is also most essential for the health of the skin. Vitamin C helps to protect and preserve the youthful properties of the skin. It keeps the skin firm and resilient and delays the formation of wrinkles and lines. As it strengthens the immune system, it protects the body from degeneration and illness too.
Food sources: Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, like oranges, lemon and grapefruit, amla, tomato, sprouted grains and green leafy vegetables. In fact, while having citrus fruits, include the white strands, which contain bioflavinoids and are said to act like estrogen, helping to maintain the health of the skin and hair too.
This vitamin plays an important role in maintaining the youth of the skin, as it helps the process of cell regeneration. It keeps the skin soft, smooth and youthful. Vitamin A also helps to strengthen the immune system. It is also extremely necessary for our vision and protects the texture of the hair.
Food sources: Vitamin A can be obtained from milk, fish, carrots, papaya, mango and cabbage.
The B-Complex Vitamins
These promote and protect good health, including the good health of the skin and hair. They restore the health of the hair and are even said to play a role in delaying greying of the hair. Nutritionists agree that diets that are rich in the B-Complex Vitamins help to cure hair problems like dandruff and hair damage, also promoting hair growth and checking hair loss.
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Food sources: The B-Complex Vitamins are available in wholegrains, a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and yogurt.
This is another essential vitamin, which is most necessary for healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D is produced when the body is exposed to the sun. It also helps in the regulation and maintenance of minerals in our blood, including calcium. It helps to absorb calcium. A deficiency of Vitamin D can lead to osteoporosis with ageing.
Food sources: Vitamin D is available in fish, eggs and liver.
This is rich in antioxidants, which help to preserve youthful properties. Many have called it the "vitality vitamin" as it not only protects youthful qualities, but also helps during old age. It helps to oxygenate the tissues and among other things, it keeps the skin soft, smooth and firm. Skin care with creams containing Vitamin E or ingredients that are rich in Vitamin has helped to keep lines and wrinkles at bay for a longer time. Wheatgerm oil, which is used in many skin care creams, is said to be rich in Vitamin E.
Food sources: Food items like eggs, liver, sunflower oil, almonds, peas, turnip and green vegetables are rich sources of Vitamin E.
So, take a look at your diet and ensure that it supplies you with the essential nutrients. Avoid polished and refined grains, as well as overcooked and fried foods. Vitamins are so sensitive that cooking destroys more than half their nutrients. So, include fresh fruits, salads, sprouts and yogurt in your daily diet.
(This article is authored by Shahnaz Husain, a Padma Shri Award recipient and pioneer of the Ayurvedic beauty movement and the head of a global network of franchise ventures and 375 formulations.)