For National Nutrition Month: Nutrients You’re Probably Low On

March 13, 2019  |  
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national nutrition month 2019

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It’s so easy to fall behind on certain nutrients. First off, the way food is processed today often strips food of much of its nutrients, so you may be making your best effort to get nutrients in one food, unaware that they just…aren’t there. At least not anymore. Maybe the nutrients were there before the food was zapped, freeze-dried, preserved—you name it. Then there’s the simple fact that you like the foods you like. You have a routine of buying the same groceries. You have certain foods you know how to cook, and others with which you struggle. So your refrigerator starts containing the same items, and when your diet lacks variety, so too can your nutritional profile. Perhaps you take a vitamin to make up for it, but you don’t always remember to take that vitamin. In honor of National Nutrition Month, let’s take a look at nutrients you could be low in, and how to get more of them.

national nutrition month 2019

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Choline

Have you been feeling a little uncoordinated lately? Is your balance off or are your motor skills not as sharp as they usually are? A lack of choline could be to blame. This nutrient carries messages from your brain to the rest of your body.

national nutrition month 2019

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Where to get it

Seafood items like shrimp, scallops, cod, and salmon are all good sources of choline. As for vegetarian sources, try wheat germ, Brussels sprouts, or broccoli.

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Calcium

You probably knew that you need calcium to keep your bones and teeth strong, but this nutrient does even more. Calcium plays a role in healthy blood clotting. In fact, blood banks add a special agent to their donated blood to bind the calcium in it, and prevent premature clotting.

national nutrition month 2019

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Where to get it

You may be avoiding dairy products due to the calories and fat content, but leave a little room in your diet for things like cheese, yogurt, and milk. Even a little goes a long way. Just one glass of milk makes up 30 percent of your daily calcium needs. If you’re lactose-intolerant, go for leafy greens like kale, spinach, and mustard greens.

national nutrition month 2019

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Vitamin D

Eating more calcium won’t be too helpful if you’re low on vitamin D, since you need the latter to properly absorb the former. Being low on vitamin D puts your immunity at risk, and can even lead to inflammation of the lungs.

national nutrition month 2019

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Where to get it

Salmon, mackerel, and tuna are all excellent sources of vitamin D, as is milk and fortified cereals. That being said, one’s diet rarely provides sufficient vitamin D, and there’s nothing like a little exposure to sunlight to round out your levels.

national nutrition month 2019

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Vitamin A

Don’t let cold and flu season come back around until getting those vitamin A levels up to par. Your immune system takes a hit when you’re low on vitamin A. You also need vitamin A for healthy vision.

national nutrition month 2019

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Where to get it

Think orange produce like carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and cantaloupe when you want vitamin A. These contain carotenoids, which your body turns into vitamin A. Tomatoes, red peppers, and broccoli are other great sources of the stuff.

national nutrition month 2019

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Vitamin E

Vitamin E is one powerful vitamin. It’s actually an antibiotic, so it protects cells against free radical damage. It also fights viruses and prevents blood clots.

national nutrition month 2019

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Where to get it

Nuts and seeds should be some of your go-to snacks to get more vitamin E. Think almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and hazelnuts. Vegetable oils like sunflower, safflower, and soybean oil are also high in the stuff.

national nutrition month 2019

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Dietary fiber

The recommended amount of daily fiber for women ages 18 to 50 is 25 grams. Are you reaching that number? Without enough fiber, you can see your cholesterol levels take a hit, and your digestion struggle.

national nutrition month 2019

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Where to get it

Berries are an excellent source of fiber because they’re a low-sugar fruit, so they won’t cause a blood sugar spike. Beans, lentils, and whole grains are other excellent sources of the stuff. Consider sprinkling chia seeds onto breakfast cereal and yogurt for a quick burst of fiber.

national nutrition month 2019

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Potassium

Have you been suffering an increase in muscle cramps lately? What about dizzy spells? It could be a lack of potassium. You need it to keep up healthy electrolyte levels and maintain good blood pressure.

national nutrition month 2019

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Where to get it

Make potatoes a regular side dish, as these are high in potassium. Both sweet and regular will do the trick. Bananas, avocados, navy beans, and apricots are high in the stuff, too.

national nutrition month 2019

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Iron

Iron is a very important nutrient and when you’re low on it, you feel it fast. Iron carries oxygen through the blood stream and helps build muscles. You’ll quickly feel fatigued and weak without the stuff. Furthermore, women tend to be lower on the stuff than men.

national nutrition month 2019

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Where to get it

Bad news for vegetarians: iron from meat sources such as beef, fish, and poultry is much more rapidly absorbed by the body than that from plant-based sources. That being said, if you don’t eat meat, broccoli, lentils, cashews, and apricots do contain iron.

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