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The Nutrients You're Likely Missing and What You Should Be Eating
by Sárka-Jonae Miller
(The Best Years in Life) Whether you're an omnivore or an herbivore, you're likely missing out on some important nutrients. Some diets and certain populations have specific risks, such as women being at a greater risk of calcium deficiency than men, but there are some across-the-board nutrients that almost everyone should watch out for. Due to the plethora of processed foods, fiber is a big problem for most people. Both vitamins and minerals can be lacking. And don’t think your multivitamin has got you covered either. The daily recommended amounts are often too low.
Fiber is necessary for digestion and a healthy heart, but all the processing manufacturers put food through gets rid of most of the fiber. A lack of fiber can lead to digestive issues, could increase risks of cancer and diabetes, and might contribute to over-eating because fiber fills you up. No animal products contain fiber, but fruits and veggies are full of it.
Some excellent foods to add to your diet if you're not "regular," include spinach, raspberries, and kidney beans. You can also start eating more brown rice and bran.
Potassium is an important mineral to regulate water retention, so without enough you could experience cramps, spasms, and fatigue. A lack of potassium could also lead to atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries.
Even if you eat a diet rich with potassium, you might have a deficiency if you consume diuretics, red meat, sugar, and salt, all of which could reduce your potassium levels.
Some ways to increase your potassium, besides cutting back on the meat and diuretics, is to consume more whole grains, almonds, kelp, raisins, and bananas.
Fatty foods might be bad for your waistline, but they are often high in vitamin E. If you're eating well by going for low-fat, you should be sure to still get some foods that are rich sources of this important vitamin. Nuts, seeds, and oils are good dietary sources of vitamin E, particularly almonds and sunflower seeds. One of the highest sources of vitamin E is wheat germ oil.
Vitamin E is necessary to neutralize free radicals. The pollution and toxic substances in the environment threaten your health, but vitamin E could help prevent damage.
Your body needs iron to make hemoglobin; it is crucial for a healthy liver and kidneys, as well as blood circulation. If you drink a lot of coffee and caffeinated tea, or take consume too much phosphorus, you could be depleting your iron levels. Food additives and preservatives can also reduce amounts.
Berries and dark leafy vegetables are good sources of iron, especially black cherries and blackberries. If you're not a fan of raw fruits, dried fruits are an alternative iron source.
Although women are at a greater risk than men for being deficient in calcium, many people of both genders could be low. Calcium is crucial for the health of your bones and teeth. Many things deplete your calcium levels, from sugar to salt, coffee to soda, and too much phosphorus. Eating a diet high in animal protein and sesame seeds could threaten your calcium levels.
The answer is to eat more healthy foods like carrots, broccoli, alfalfa, and sprouts. Yogurt and cashews are good sources of calcium as well.
Considering how important vitamin C is for keeping you healthy, it’s surprising that people don’t get enough. Your immune system needs plenty of vitamin C to help fight off infections, though your body also needs it to make collagen. Men need more than women, but everyone could probably benefit from increasing their intake.
Citrus fruits and juices are high in vitamin C. If you don’t care for oranges and the like, eat more spinach and cabbage. Cabbage has four times the amount of vitamin C in a 100 gram serving.
If your hair has lost its luster, you may be low on silicon. This element is a commonly missing from the average diet. It’s important for healthy skin and nails too. Consider eating more nuts and seeds to increase your intake. Apricots and apples are good fruit sources. Asparagus and cauliflower are high in silicon too.
Among the grains, wild rice and barley contain silicon. They’re also gluten-free. Sugar can deplete stores of silicon, as can fats and starches, so consider balancing out these “bad” foods with more silicon-rich foods, or incorporate chlorophyll into your diet.
These vitamins and minerals are just some of the ones the majority of people are missing. That doesn’t mean these are the only nutrients you should be worried about. Few people consume enough of all the nutrients they need, which is why making better eating choices and considering supplements are wise options. Speak with a nutritionist or your doctor for specific recommendations.
About the Author
Sárka-Jonae Miller is a health and fitness expert. She began working in the fitness industry in 2000 while pursuing a BS in journalism at Syracuse University. She became certified as a personal fitness trainer and group exercise instructor in 2003. She has also received training in massage therapy. Sárka also writes fiction. She is the author of the chick lit novel, Between Boyfriends. Get more health and wellness tips on Sárka's Natural Healing Tips blog or join her on Facebook and Twitter.
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