Just because you’re taking a multivitamin doesn’t mean you have all the nutrients you need. Most of our nutrients should be coming from food — so long as you eat a diverse range of foods and your diet is rich with grains, fruits, and vegetables, you’re probably OK. But many people are missing something in their diet from one area or another; this could cause a nutrient deficiency.
Nutrients include macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are fats, carbohydrates and proteins. These are essential to eat every day. Micronutrients are the smaller, less talked about nutrients. They consist of vitamins and minerals that keep your body working at its best. Different micronutrients assist with different processes in the body.
If you don’t eat enough of a nutrient over time, it could result in a deficiency. Nutrient deficiencies often leave people feeling weak, tired and irritable. They can also have negative health effects long-term.
Americans are more likely to get enough of certain nutrients than others. The micronutrients on this list are the ones that Americans are most likely to be lacking, according to data from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines. Find out which vitamins and minerals you’re probably missing from your food.
Everyone knows calcium helps you build strong bones. But did you also know it helps your muscles work, your blood flow, and your nerves function? It’s crucial that you get enough calcium from your diet; this can be especially difficult if you avoid dairy. Other than milk, foods with calcium include almonds, broccoli, oranges and beans.
Dietary fiber occurs naturally in most plant-based foods — but most Americans don’t eat enough of them. As a result, the average American eats less than half the recommended daily amount. Fiber is absolutely essential for healthy digestion. Some of the best sources of fiber include beans, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and nuts.
The most common form of anemia, a condition in which the blood lacks healthy red blood cells, is iron-deficiency anemia. Women are especially at risk, since 20 percent of women in America do not get enough iron from their diets. If you always feel cold or notice another odd symptom, it could be worth getting tested. Foods with iron include spinach, broccoli, meat, fish, tofu, beans and whole grains.
Magnesium is one of the most important nutrients in your diet. It helps to regulate your blood pressure, keep your bones strong, and keep your heart beating normally. When you don’t get enough magnesium, it can result in an increase in inflammatory markers. Magnesium is contained in many foods such as whole grain cereals, nuts, beans and leafy greens. You might think kale is overrated, but it’s absolutely loaded with magnesium.
When you ask most people what to eat to get more potassium, they can only think of bananas. But potassium is contained in all kinds of other foods such as avocados, yogurt, sweet potatoes and some types of beans. The recommended intake of potassium is 4,700 milligrams per day, yet 56 percent of Americans fail to meet the mark. Potassium is important because it helps to lower your blood pressure and prevent kidney stones — these effects are especially important for those with a diet high in sodium.
This vitamin is known for helping your eyesight, but it can do more than that. It preserves skin health and neurological function, among other uses. Vitamin A is found in many colorful vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes and bell peppers.
Vitamin B12 helps with all kinds of bodily processes. For instance, it helps make your DNA and red blood cells. Your body can’t produce vitamin B12 on its own, so it’s crucial you get the vitamin from your diet or supplements. Most foods with vitamin B12 are animal products — dairy, poultry, and eggs, for example. Vegans have to be extra careful with monitoring their intake of this vitamin and make sure to eat foods that have been fortified with the nutrient.
Vitamin B6 plays a huge role in regulating your sleep and your mood. These things could be thrown off for any number of reasons, but if you’re also experiencing an irregular appetite, you might want to check your diet for missing nutrients. Vitamin B6 is found in foods such as potatoes, bananas, and chicken.
You might think vitamin C is only necessary if you’re worried about catching a cold — but it’s important no matter what, and it’s powerful for more than just your immune system. Your blood vessels, cartilage, and bones all rely on the nutrient. It also helps to fight off free radicals, which can stave off cancer. Prevent a vitamin C emergency by eating lots of citrus, berries and vegetables.
This mood-boosting vitamin is crucial year-round, but especially during the winter months. Sun exposure allows the body to produce its own vitamin D; inadequate sun exposure is common, however, especially for those who work indoors. Learn a few surprising signs you need more vitamin D and try to supplement your diet with these foods that can help you get enough of the vitamin.
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