We try to eat well; we think we are getting all the nutrients we need. But are we? WebMD recently had an article on the 7 nutrients missing in American diets. In my last post, I focused on potassium and magnesium. Two other nutrients missing in the American diet are:
Vitamin A – hard to believe anyone in America can be lacking vitamin A because so many foods are such a rich source of vitamin A or its precursor, Beta Carotene. What does vitamin A do for us? Good vision for one. One of the first signs of a vitamin A deficiency is having trouble seeing in a darkened room. It helps prevent illnesses by giving us a healthy immune system and it helps tissue growth and gives us healthy skin. Beta carotene is one of many antioxidants in foods and as such protects our cells from daily damage. When students ask me what they can eat for healthier skin, I always answer vitamin A rich foods. Vitamin A helps our bodies form and maintain healthy skin.
Which foods are rich sources of vitamin A or of Beta Carotene?
· Eggs, milk, yogurt
· Dark green vegetables - broccoli, spinach, kale
· Dark yellow and orange fruits – cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, apricots
· Vegetables – sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash
Vitamin D– One hardly ever heard of a person having a deficiency of vitamin D. It is so easy to get, drink milk, eat yogurt, go outside. But since many of us now stay inside and don’t drink milk or eat yogurt, vitamin D deficiency has become well known. What does this important vitamin do for us? Almost everything. Healthy bones, healthy muscles, healthy nerves, strong immune systems. Newer studies have shown vitamin D may help with weight loss.
Vitamin D is probably the most common nutrient deficiency. Many children today are either deficient in vitamin D or aren’t getting enough. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found that 7.6 million children in the U.S. are deficient in vitamin D and another 50.8 million or 61% of children have insufficient vitamin D. Medical News Today . Among adults, the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is nearly 42%. (Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency)
Sources of vitamin D.
§ Sunlight – our bodies make vitamin D with only 10-15 minutes of sun exposure twice a week, on our arms, hands, face, or back without sunscreen.
§ Milk – milk is fortified with vitamin D, 400 IU per quart. (cheese is not usually fortified with vitamin D so not a good source).
§ Yogurt – most yogurt is fortified with vitamin D, check the label
§ Egg yolk
§ Cereal – some are fortified with vitamin D
§ OJ – calcium fortified OJ, is also fortified with vitamin D