If you’re striving for complete nutrition and you’re looking to get it from food, it can be helpful to know what vitamins and minerals most people fall short on. These are generally nutrients that can be difficult to get from a standard diet.
The daily recommendation for calcium is 1,000 milligrams a day. Calcium as you may know is good for bone health. It’s also an important part of the digestive process and other metabolic processes.
Calcium is essential, in fact, for creating energy from your food. And many people just don’t get the calcium that they need on a daily basis. It’s such a problem that many physicians consider it to be just short of an epidemic.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “In the United States alone, 10 million people have osteoporosis, and 18 million more are at risk of developing the disease. Another 34 million Americans are at risk of osteopenia, or low bone mass, which can lead to fractures and other complications.” (Source: http://www.aaos.org/about/papers/position/1113.asp)
You can find calcium in dairy products of course. But if you cannot have dairy products, then consider looking at fortified dairy alternatives, dark leafy greens, and fish with bones like sardines.
Potassium is another mineral that is often difficult to obtain. On a daily basis you need 4,700 milligrams a day. The average banana has 422 mg of potassium. Potassium helps regulate your blood pressure. It may also decrease bone loss, reduce your risk of bone loss, and help with your cardiovascular health. It’s also part of the energy creation process.
Foods that are high in potassium include potatoes, tomatoes, and beans (including soybeans), Swiss chard, dates, avocado, fish, and raisins. It’s important to know that Swiss chard and avocados have almost 1000 mg of potassium per serving.
Bananas, while delicious, aren’t the potassium powerhouse that many believe them to be. They’re great, but if you really want a good bang for your buck, try an avocado.
There are a few minerals that are essential to good health and magnesium is one. It’s also one that is a little difficult to obtain without a conscious effort. The daily recommendation is 320 milligrams a day.
What does magnesium do? It helps with muscle and nerve function, and like many minerals it helps sustain strong bones and bone density. Magnesium is found in seeds and nuts as well as fish. It’s also found in dark leafy greens, beans, and avocados. One serving or cup of spinach will give you 157 milligrams of magnesium, almost half of your daily recommendation.
You’re supposed to get 15 milligrams of Vitamin E each day. It doesn’t sound like much, but unless you eat nuts or fortified cereals, you may have a difficult time getting enough vitamin E. It is a vitamin that supports eye health, skin health, and is an antioxidant.
Other common nutrients that people tend to be deficient in include vitamins A and C, as well as fiber. However, the truth is that if you get your daily serving of fruits and veggies and you have a few whole grains, you’ll get your daily supply of these important nutrients.
So the trick is to make sure that you integrate these nutrient-rich foods into your diet. That’s best accomplished with a little meal planning. Meal planning is exactly what it sounds like. You create a plan for what you’re going to eat during the week, including your meals and snacks.