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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Is Your Diet Missing These Nutrients?

I was talking to a neighbor and she said her college age son was borderline for high blood pressure.  I told her he should eat a banana a day.  She looked at me with surprise.  Most people have heard of lowering sodium for high blood pressure but not as many have heard of increasing potassium.   

Potassium is one of 7 nutrients the USDA has said Americans aren’t getting enough of.  Are you lacking in any of these nutrients?
Potassium – not only helps keep our blood pressure healthy it also helps our muscles and nerve function.  Food sources: 
  • Bananas
  • Milk
  • Sweet potatoes
  •  Legumes  
  • Avocados 
Magnesium – since so many of us eat white bread and few fruits and vegetables, we may be missing out on magnesium.  Low levels are linked to osteoporosis, high blood pressure, diabetes, muscle cramps, and heart disease.  Food sources:
                Whole grains  (e.g. oatmeal)      spinach   beans  nuts (especially almonds) 
Vitamin A – pretty easy to get if you are eating 5 fruits and vegetables a day and drinking milk or eating yogurt at meals.  Not so easy if your diet is missing fruits and vegetables or loaded with fake foods like Sunny D and Hi-C.  One of the first signs of vitamin A deficiency is having trouble seeing in the dark.  Our eyes need Vitamin A. for good vision.  Vitamin A helps our immune system and skin.  Carrots don’t really have vitamin A but carotene which our body converts to vitamin A but eating carrots is a great way to get the vitamin A your body needs.  Other food sources:
                Look for orange – sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash, apricots, carrots

                Look for dark green – spinach, broccoli
Vitamin D – sad that so many children and adults lack vitamin D as our bodies make vitamin D when we go outside.  It is also easy to get from milk and yogurt.  This vitamin plays a huge role in our overall health and researchers are still finding out important roles this vitamin plays in our overall health.  This include healthy bones, healthy muscles, our nerves and keeping our immune system strong to ward off illnesses.  Sources:
  • Go Outside – when the sun hits our skin, our bodies can make vitamin D
  •  Milk/Yogurt are fortified with vitamin D
  •  Fish – some fish are a good source such as salmon, mackerel
  •  Egg yolks – some are labeled to be good sources of vitamin D
  •  Calcium fortified Orange Juice is also usually fortified with vitamin D
So what nutrients might you be lacking and what steps can you take to include these nutrients in your diet?

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