It might surprise you to learn that many adults don’t get enough of the important nutrients we need to keep our bodies healthy and strong. Four nutrients in particular were singled out in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans as “of concern” because too many of us aren’t getting enough of these essentials.
Here are the four, how much you need and the best ways to get them.
1. Potassium (4,700 milligrams a day) is an essential when it comes to managing blood pressure, potassium lowers blood pressure, sodium raises it. This mineral may also help with kidney stones and bone loss. Your best food source is the potato, but other natural sources include prunes, carrots, oranges, tomatoes and beans like white, lima and soy. Potassium is also in fish like halibut, tuna and cod and in dairy like milk and yogurt.
2. Vitamin D (600 IUs a day, 800 IUs daily at 70) works with calcium to enhance bone strength, and because we’re all avoiding sun exposure an estimated 20% of the population is deficient in the so-called sunshine vitamin. Get more from fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines) in egg yolks, milk and orange juice as well as mushrooms that are grown in sunlight.
3. Calcium (1,000 mg daily, 1,200 mg daily for women over 50, all adults over 70) is essential for prevention of osteoporosis and bone fractures, this nutrient is also critical to our muscles and nerves. You get this from the sources we all know, dairy products like milk and yogurt, and today non dairy milks like soy and almond are also fortified with calcium. Orange juices are fortified and other natural sources include salmon, kale, turnip greens and some types of tofu.
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4 Nutrients Every Adult Needs Continued…
4. Fiber (25 grams/day for women, 38 grams/day for men) is the natural part of foods that helps your digestive tract stay healthy and working well. It may also lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease, though the typical American diet isn’t loaded with fiber – far from it. You get fiber from beans (navy, white, lima, pinto, black), most veggies and fruits, whole grain breads and pasta
If you have concerns about your own nutrition, talk with your health care team to look at your own needs.
As we age, our bodies, activity levels and lifestyles change, which means that our nutritional needs change too. Keep in mind that people need about 20% fewer calories at age 80 than they did at age 30. Blame a slower metabolism and a more sedentary lifestyle. Other things that can have an impact include less of a sense of taste and smell, spending more time inside, having trouble chewing or following a diet that’s restricted due to a health condition, eating alone and dealing with loss of appetite or a medication that may prevent the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
If you’re a healthy adult and eating that way you probably don’t need a supplement. Experts continue to tell us that food is the best, most natural source of vitamins and minerals.
To your good health,