#SWAAYthenarrative

Why Taking Vitamins Is Becoming More Important Than Ever For Women

Health

The world today is becoming more dangerous for our health and well-being. Between the coronavirus outbreak and ozone depletion, it has become rather important to take a second look at the lifestyles we lead to ensure that we are doing everything we possibly can in order to maintain our health. Since our lifestyles nowadays often prevent us from being active, getting all the nutrients our bodies need, spending enough time outdoors, or compensating with certain vitamins has become more of a necessity, especially for women, rather than a mere choice. To understand more about the importance that vitamins hold for women, here are some of the reasons why you need to start considering integrating them into your diet.

Maintaining Reproductive Health

Whether you are leading an active lifestyle or a sedentary life, maintaining optimum nutrition is essential for your overall health. Following a healthy well-balanced diet is extremely vital, yet more often than ever now, food is not enough. As women, especially those who are expecting, not getting all the vitamins and minerals our bodies need can wreak havoc on our reproductive systems leaving them weak and unable to function normally. By extension, this can take a toll on the quality of our lives and our mental health. To avoid any complications, it's better to depend on taking essential vitamins in addition to following a suitable diet for your body.

Your Body Needs More Than You Think

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pays close attention to updating guidelines for health and nutrition every five years in regard to the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of each essential vitamin and mineral your body needs daily to be at its tip-top shape. However, there are some age groups and body types that require more than the RDA. This means that resorting to taking these vitamins and supplements in the recommended dosages that are tailored for your body type is far better than popping a multivitamin pill and calling it a day. Most women feel content with eating healthily a few times a week to meet the recommended doses of vitamins their bodies need. However, sometimes this can't be achieved through diets alone. So, make sure that you are getting enough vitamins and minerals into your body.

Avoiding Deficiencies

Certain vitamin deficiencies can take a serious toll on the body if not addressed quickly and properly. Vitamin D deficiency, for example, can cause mental health problems such as mood swings and depression. Women who live in places where long dreary winters are expected can even suffer from physical health issues such as inability to concentrate or get work done, chronic fatigue, slow metabolism, and weaker immune systems.

Since women are more susceptible to osteoporosis, even four times more than men, calcium deficiency is another risk to look out for while you are paying attention to your diet and your needed supplements. Calcium forms more than 1% of your body weight. To maintain good bone health and teeth, you need to ensure that you are getting enough calcium each day either from your diet or by supplementing with calcium to ensure that normal cells, heart, muscles, and blood clotting functions are running smoothly without any complications.

Pregnant and Nursing Women Health

The first thing you need to do when you find out about your pregnancy is to take a second look at your diet and the nutrients it provides you with. Studies found that being deficient in certain minerals and vitamins during your pregnancy will not only harm your health, but it might also put your baby's health at risk. There are endless benefits that a tiny multivitamin pill can offer to pregnant women or those who are trying to conceive. Some studies found that women with B12 deficiency might be at a higher risk of giving birth to babies with neural tube defects. Other deficiencies such as vitamin C, B2, and folic acid might also raise the risk of spinal cord defects such as spina bifida or even fatal defects such as anencephaly. If you did not pay attention to supplementing with enough zinc for your body during pregnancy, you might be at risk of premature and underweight births. Research even found that supplementing with multivitamins might reduce the risk of autistic children.

Depending on diets alone to maintain your overall health is not always enough. Women, especially during pregnancy or conceiving, need to start paying attention to what vitamins and minerals they consume in comparison to recommended doses. This is not only important for preventing any health complications and vitamin deficiencies, but also for their babies' health.

5 min read
Self

Lessons Learned and the Power of Turning 50

Except for 16, I have celebrated all of my milestone birthdays in New York City.

I turned 16 in Arnold, Missouri. Arnold is a small town (though not small anymore) 20 miles south of St. Louis. St. Louis is known for the Gateway Arch, a beautiful arch of shiny stainless steel, built by the National Parks Service in 1935 to commemorate Thomas Jefferson's vision of a transcontinental U.S. St. Louis is also known for its custard, a frozen dessert that is so thick, they hand it to you upside down with a spoon inside. Something else about St. Louis you should know is that there is a courthouse just steps from the base of the Gateway Arch where one of the most important cases in history was tried: Dred Scott v. Sanford.

I'm turning 50 during what I define as a miraculous time to be alive.

Mr. Scott was born into enslavement around 1799 and, in 1830, was sold to a military surgeon who traveled back and forth between his military posts in Illinois and Wisconsin, where slavery was prohibited under the Missouri Compromise of 1820. In 1842 the doctor and Mr. Scott both married, and they, all four, returned to St. Louis. Still enslaved, Dred Scott filed a lawsuit against the doctor's wife for his and his wife Harriet's freedom. We don't know exactly why he chose this moment in time to file a lawsuit, however, he did. At the time of filing his, now, famous lawsuit, he was 50 years old. Ultimately, The Scott family did not gain their freedom, but their profound courage in filling this case helped ignite the Civil War and what we would come to know (or think we know) as freedom from enslavement for all human beings. Powerful then and even more powerful now.

My next milestone was turning 21, and I did it in the Big Apple. Having only moved to "the city that never sleeps" a few months prior, I knew nobody except my new friends, the bus-boys from the restaurant I was working at, Patzo's on the Upper West Side. And, yes, pazzo is actually the correct spelling of the Italian word, which translates to "crazy." Trust me we all had several laughs about the misspelling and the definition going hand in hand. I worked a full shift, closing out at around 11 PM, when, my kitchen team came out from the line with a cake singing, "Cumpleaños Feliz." It was fantastic. And the kindness of these almost-strangers was a powerful reminder of connection then as it still is today almost 29 years later.

I design the life I desire and the Universe creates it for me every day. I show up, keep the story moving, and work hard because I am relentlessly devoted to making the world a better place and this is how I choose to leave my legacy.

When I turned 30, I had just finished a European tour with Lucinda Childs dance company. The company had been on tour for months together and were inseparable. We traveled through Paris, Vienna, Lisbon, and Rome. We ate together, we rode on a bus together, we had drinks after shows together, and we even took turns giving company class to get warmed up before a show. It was deeply meaningful and dreamy. We ended the tour back in New York City at BAM, The Brooklyn Academy of Music. It was an incredible way to end the tour, by being on our home court, not to mention I was having an important birthday at the culmination of this already incredible experience.

So, when I invited everyone to join me at Chelsea Pier's Sky Rink to ice skate in late August, I was schooled really quickly that "tour" does not mean you are friends in real life, it means you are tour friends. When the tour ends, so does the relationship. I skated a few laps and then went home. This was a beautiful lesson learned about who your real friends are; it was powerful then as it is today.

Turning 40 was a completely different experience. I was in a serious relationship with my now-husband, Joe. I had just come off of a successful one-woman dance show that I produced, choreographed, and danced in, I had just choreographed a feature film, John Turturro's Romance and Cigarettes, with A-list actors, including Kate Winslet and James Gandolfini, who became a dear friend and had even been on the red carpet with Susan Sarandon at the Venice Film Festival for the movie a year earlier.

And I encourage all women to identify their power and choose to be fully in your power at any age.

This was a very special birthday, and I had, in those 10 years between 30 and 40, come to cultivate very real friendships with some wonderful colleagues. We all celebrated at a local Italian restaurant, Etcetera Etcetera (who is delivering for those of you in NYC — we order weekly to support them during COVID), a staple in the theater district. Joe and I were (and are) regulars and, of course, wanted to celebrate my 40th with our restaurant family and friends. We were upstairs in the private room, and it was really lovely. Many of those in attendance are no longer with us, including Joe's Dad, Bob Ricci, and my dear friend Jim Gandolfini having transitioned to the other side. Currently, that restaurant is holding on by a thread of loving neighbors and regulars like us. Life is precious. Powerful then and today even more so.

I write this article because I'm turning 50, still in New York City. However, I'm turning 50 during what I define as a miraculous time to be alive. And I could not be more filled with hope, love, possibility, and power. This year has included an impeachment hearing, a global pandemic, and global protests that are finally giving a larger platform to the Black Lives Matter movement. Being able to fully embody who I am as a woman, a 50-year-old woman who is living fully in purpose, takes the cake, the rink, and the party.

I'm making movies about conversations around race. I've been happily married for 11 years to the love of my life, Joe Ricci. I'm amplifying and elevating the voices of those who have not previously had a platform for speaking out. I choose who to spend time with and how long! I design the life I desire and the Universe creates it for me every day. I show up, keep the story moving, and work hard because I am relentlessly devoted to making the world a better place and this is how I choose to leave my legacy. Being 50 is one of the most amazing things I ever thought I could experience. And I encourage all women to identify their power and choose to be fully in your power at any age. I'm 50 and powerful. Dred Scott was 50 and powerful. This powerful lesson is for today and tomorrow. We have the power. No matter what age you are, I invite you to use your powerful voice to join me in making the world a better place.