People today do not eat as well as they did even 30 years ago and many of us are starved for essential nutrients and don’t even realize it. With today’s fast paced lifestyles, it’s more convenient to grab a fast food meal or energy bar then to cook up a balanced meal full of the nutrients our bodies need to work their best.
Our diets are woefully lacking in fruits and vegetables which provide us with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fiber that help your immune systems fight off illness and disease. And when we do eat fruits and vegetables chances are they are full of pesticides and chemicals. No wonder our health on the whole is declining!
Below are several essential nutrients that are probably missing from your diet. Going for the quick fix and replacing them with supplements won’t make up for the synergistic effects of these nutrients found in food and if you want to avoid the harmful effects of pesticides then it’s best to go with organic foods when possible.
Vitamin A gives us healthy eyes as well as helps to maintain the linings of the intestinal, respiratory, and urinary tracts. It also helps keep our skin healthy. To get more vitamin A in your diet, eat darkly-pigmented foods such as spinach, carrots, winter squash, kale, and sweet potato.
Vitamin C is needed in order for our body to create collagen, which is basically the glue that holds our skin, bones and blood vessels together. It also aids in making brain chemicals, neutralizing damage from free radicals, and metabolizing cholesterol. Vitamin C has also been shown to help reduce arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. To add this vitamin to your diet, drink add a glass of orange juice or eat an orange every day. Other foods that contain vitamin C are strawberries, kiwifruit, red bell peppers, cantaloupe, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to neutralize free radicals and protect cells from damage. It plays a key role in the immune system and can even help prevent the common cold as well as lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Foods high in vitamin E include sunflower kernels, almonds, and sunflower oil especially when used in salad dressings, which helps you get nutrients from the vegetables as well as carry the vitamin E into the bloodstream.
Fiber is the part of fruits, vegetables and whole grains that is not digested. Whole grains can lower your heart disease risk by 30 percent. It is recommended that you get 14g of fiber for every 1000 calories you eat. To get more fiber in your diet have a 1/2 cup serving of Fiber One cereal and add more beans to your diet. Switch to whole grain bread and eat lots of fruits and vegetables with your meals.
Calcium helps us build and maintain healthy teeth and bones. It prevents bone-thinning osteoporosis and also contributes to healthy blood pressure. Recent studies have shown that calcium can reduce the risk of colon cancer. To get enough calcium, drink three glasses of low-fat or fat-free milk a day, or eat eight ounces of fat-free yogurt along with 2-3 ounces of low-fat cheese evert day.
Magnesium and Potassium
Magnesium works together with calcium and along with potassium it is linked to healthy blood pressure. These two nutrients are also though to help protect against osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. To get more magnesium, add a half-cup of bran and cooked spinach each day. For more potassium, eat sweet potatoes, white potatoes, bananas, and white beans.