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Articles Fitness Nutrition

4 Vital Nutrients Your Diet May be Lacking

Oct 17, 2010

Even when you try your best to eat healthy, it’s easy to miss certain vital nutrients in your meals. By taking note of the vitamins and nutrients your diet could be missing, it’s easy to adjust your diet to include them.

1. Calcium

Although most people drink lots of milk as kids, it’s a habit you may have grown out of as you became an adult. As a result, many adults lack sufficient calcium in their diet. In fact, the average American adult loses 400 mg of calcium a day! This is because the body needs a certain blood calcium level to stay healthy. When it drops below an acceptable level, the blood borrows it from the bones. Calcium contributes to bone and teeth strength and density. It keeps you from developing bone problems like osteoporosis and osteopenia. If you want to include more calcium in your diet, it’s easy to get with milk, multivitamins or calcium chews.

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

You may think that adding fat to your diet is a weight loss disaster, but omega-3 fatty acids play a big part in keeping the body healthy. They contribute to growth and have a number of health benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids play a role in preventing cancer, helping to slow tumor growth. In addition, they help reduce the occurrence and severity of cardiovascular disease. Studies show that those who consume enough omega-3 fatty acids have a significantly lower chance of dying due to cardiovascular disease. To add more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet, consider eating fatty fish, such as tuna and salmon. They are also in flax, walnuts, pecans and fish oil supplements.

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin in your diet. The USDA recommends 75 mg per day for women and 90 mg of vitamin C per day for men. This vitamin assists in the functioning of the immune system and works as an antioxidant. Another benefit is its use as a natural antihistamine. Vitamin C is found in many plants, fruits and vegetables. Its deficiency in most people can be attributed to the lack of fruits and vegetables that people eat. To get more vitamin C in your diet, increase your intake of almost any fruit or vegetable. Some of the best sources are papaya, strawberry, red pepper and parsley.

4. Folate

Folate, a B vitamin, is a nutrient found primarily in legumes, leafy vegetables and certain fruits. It also comes in a supplement form, known as folic acid. The American Dietetic Association recommends that adults get 400 mcg of this nutrient every day, however, due to low consumption of fruit and vegetables, many adults don’t meet this requirement. Folate is particularly beneficial for pregnant women, as it reduces the risk of many severe birth defects. Folate also reduces the risk of heart disease.

Adding these nutrients to your diet can improve your overall health and well-being. Using the food journal at fitday.com can help you plan your meals and keep track of your food to ensure that you are getting all the vital nutrients you need.

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