(Health Secrets) 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, and both vitamins and minerals can be lacking. And don’t think your drug or discount store multivitamin has got you covered either. Their daily recommended amounts are often too low.
Fiber is necessary for good digestion and a healthy heart, but the processing of food gets rid of most naturally occurring fiber. A lack of fiber can increase risks of cancer and diabetes, and may contribute to over-eating because fiber makes you feel full. 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 bananas, spinach, raspberries, and kidney beans. You can also start eating more brown rice and bran.
Potassium is an important mineral to balance sodium and regulate water retention. Without enough potassium one can experience cramps, spasms, irregular heart beats, and fatigue. A lack of potassium can also lead to atherosclerosis, which is hardening of the arteries.
Even if you eat a diet rich in potassium, you might have a deficiency if you consume diuretics, which reduce potassium levels.
Some ways to increase potassium include consuming more potatoes with skin on, whole grains, almonds, kelp, raisins, blackstrap molasses, and bananas.
Foods rich in healthy fats are the best sources of vitamin E. If you’re eating a low-fat diet, 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 best sources of vitamin E is wheat germ oil.
You might want to rethink that low-fat diet, because many other nutrients are found in healthy fat, and the brain needs plenty of them to keep working well. If you want to lose some pounds, cut back of processed carbohydrates.
Vitamin E is also necessary to neutralize free radicals, whether they come from the environment or from your own body.
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 consume too much phosphorus from colas, you could be depleting your iron levels. Food additives and preservatives can also reduce amounts. This is particularly true for young women.
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.
Calcium and Magnesium
Magnesium is the balancing mineral for calcium, making sure it is used in cells and not left to clog up arteries. A healthy diet should contain calcium and magnesium in a ratio of 2 to 1. Although women are at a greater risk than men for being deficient in these minerals, many people of both genders could be low.
Calcium and magnesium are crucial for the health of bones and teeth. The average American diet provides plenty of calcium, but magnesium is in short supply because factory farming does not replace it in the soil. Concentrate on upping your levels of magnesium by adding spinach, chard, carrots, broccoli, alfalfa sprouts, and blackstrap molasses. Yogurt and cashews are good sources as well.
Considering how important vitamin C is for keeping good health, it’s surprising that people don’t get enough. The immune system needs plenty of vitamin C to help fight off infections, and your body also needs it to make collagen. Everyone could probably benefit from increasing their intake.
Bell peppers, leafy greens, potatoes with skin on, citrus foods, and spinach are high in vitamin C. If you don’t care for these, chow down on cabbage. Cabbage has almost three times the amount of vitamin C as spinach.
If 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, and they’re also gluten-free. Sugar can deplete stores of silicon, as can fats and starches, so consider balancing out these foods with more silicon-rich foods.
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.
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