The body gets the nutrition it needs to perform all its various functions and for energy from the nutrients in food from a healthy diet. But according to the USDA many of us are not getting the right amounts of certain nutrients. See how your diet stacks up with these essential nutrients that many are lacking.
Vitamins That May Be Lacking in a Balanced Diet
Making sure you are getting adequate amounts of vitamins A, D, C and B-12 is essential in a healthy diet. Beta-carotene that the body converts to vitamin A is a carotenoid and found in foods that are orange and yellow colored. Sweet potatoes, carrots, apricots, cantaloupe and mango would all fall into this category. You can also get vitamin A from dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli. This vitamin helps with vision, the immune system, and growing body tissue. You need vitamin D for bone, muscle and nerve fiber health. It also helps boost your immune system. We can get this vitamin from being out in the sunshine, but in our modern society many people are stuck indoors working most of the day and don’t get enough from sunlight. Foods that can help you get more vitamin D include fatty fish like salmon, mushrooms, cheese, egg yolks and foods fortified with vitamin D such as juices and cereals. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help protect cells from free radical damage, helps boost immune system function and is needed for growing bones and tissue and in collagen production. Good food sources for vitamin C include sweet potatoes, kiwi, Bell pepper, oranges, strawberries and broccoli. Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) is important for energy production, red blood cell production, a healthy nervous system, a strong digestive system, vibrant hair, skin and nails, brain functions and antioxidant protection. It also helps your body be able to relax. You can find B-12 in poultry, beef, fish, dairy, kale, spinach, and fortified cereals.
Minerals That May Be Lacking in a Balanced Diet
When planning meals for a healthy diet, be sure to include foods with magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron as many diets in this country are lacking in these vital minerals. Magnesium helps maintain stable blood pressure, and can reduce the risks of diabetes, heart disease, muscle cramps and osteoporosis. Including foods such as spinach, beans, peas, whole grains and almonds in your diet will get your magnesium levels up. Potassium is another important mineral that is often lacking in adequate amounts in our diets. For potassium, be sure you are eating potatoes, sweet potatoes, legumes, avocados, bananas and milk. Milk will also help get you the calcium that is lacking in many of our diets and necessary for bone and teeth health, supporting heart rhythm, and muscle function. You can also get calcium from eating salmon, kale, tofu, yogurt, figs, and broccoli. Even if you are getting enough calcium, make sure you get vitamin D in conjunction with it as this vitamin is needed for the body to absorb calcium. Iron is a necessary mineral for producing hemoglobin for carrying oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body and is often lacking from our diets. Iron can be found in foods such as healthy meats like pork, lean beef and fish, in cereals fortified with iron, soybeans, beans, spinach and lentils, dark green leafy vegetables, and tofu.
Are You Getting Omega-3s in Your Diet?
Not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can leave you with poor circulation, dry skin, a weak immune system, unstable mood, and at higher risk for heart disease and high cholesterol. Omega-3 is also vital for brain function and more specifically the brain needs EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, herring, halibut, tuna and other coldwater fatty fish are good food sources for omega-3’s as are nuts, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, olive oil, and soybeans.
Amino Acids Are Vital in a Healthy Diet
In order to sustain life and metabolic functions, the body must have a certain mix of amino acids. These are necessary for storing nutrients and transporting them to cells around the body. Without these vital components in a healthy diet you may not have enough energy, have unstable mood, be unable to concentrate, experience poor sleep and will find skin and hair affected negatively. There are over 500 identified amino acids that exist, but there are only 22 that are needed to build proteins that are essential for life to exist. These are categorized as either an “essential” or “non-essential” amino acid. An essential amino acid is not one that is more necessary or important than a non-essential amino acid, but is one that the body cannot produce on its own and therefore has to come from foods we eat. Essential amino acids include phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, isoleucine, methionine, leucine, lysine, and histidine. Since amino acids build protein, any foods with protein have amino acids. This includes meat, poultry, fish, dairy, grains, nuts and legumes. Foods with the highest amounts of certain amino acids include grass fed beef, dairy, wild caught seafood, sea vegetables, spirulina, brewer’s yeast and some vegetables such as cabbage, beets, beans, and spinach.
Get It All
It’s no wonder that so many of our diets are lacking in these vital nutrients when you look at our busy, eating on the run lifestyles. It’s often hard to arrange for healthy sit down meals 7 days a week that include lean protein, healthy fats, whole grains and lots of veggies and fruits. If this is a problem you face then AFA bluegreen algae may be your solution. It has all the amino acids our bodies need similar to the proportions found in human breast milk, provides as much as 70% usable protein, has the perfect ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids that is often backwards in our diets, and is loaded with vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, and antioxidants. And to make sure your brain gets the special nutrition it needs, this form of AFA with the cell wall removed allows its nutrients to easily pass through the blood brain barrier
Your body needs the proper nutrition to keep it not only going but thriving and doing the best job it can for you for a long, long time. If you can’t get all the nutrients you need from whole foods all the time, let wholefood supplements fill in the gaps.