10 Notable Nutrients You May Be Missing

notable-nutrients-you-may-be-missing

10 Notable Nutrients You May Be Missing

All of your life, you’ve heard about the “four food groups,” and you’ve probably also seen your fair share of nutrition pyramids.  Most likely, you’re following the general rules for healthy eating, along with a holiday binge period here or there.  But even when you’re doing your best to eat right and live well, are you really getting all of the nutrition you need? 

Our bodies change as we get older, not only in how they look and feel, but in also in how they function and absorb nutrients.  For instance, your body may not absorb Vitamin D through sunlight with the same efficiency at age 70 that it did at age 10. Similarly, the stomach acid that’s required to absorb Vitamin B12 from food begins to decline in most people around age 50. So, following general recommended daily intake (RDI) numbers may not be sufficient anymore. 

It’s important to talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about what your body needs, but the following list of 10 notable nutrients you might be missing is a good place to start. We’ve made it really simple by listing exactly what each nutrient does in your body (why you need it) as well as good food sources for each nutrient (where to get it). Remember, before you start taking any kind of supplement, discuss it with your doctor first. 

Vitamin D

Why you need it: 

  • Protects you against illness and infection
  • Helps your body absorb calcium
  • Helps maintain bone density
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis
  • Helps reduce chronic pain

How to get it: 

  • Foods fortified with Vitamin D, such as cereal, juice, milk, and yogurt
  • Salmon, tuna, mackerel, beef liver, cheese, and eggs
  • Sunlight
  • Vitamin D supplements

Calcium

Why you need it: 

  • Helps maintain strong bones
  • Decreases risk of brittle bones and fractures
  • Helps the blood to clot
  • Helps the nerves to send messages
  • Helps the muscles to contract

How to get it:

  • Cheese, milk, figs
  • Yogurt and ice cream
  • Kale and broccoli

Omega-3 Fats

Why you need it: 

  • Helps prevent irregular heartbeats
  • Reduces plaque build-up in the arteries
  • Inhibits inflammation
  • Keeps blood sugar levels in check
  • Reduces symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Slows the progression of age-related macular degeneration
  • Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Helps keeps the brain sharp

How to get it:

  • Salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel
  • Soybeans and walnuts
  • Flaxseed and canola oil

Fiber

Why you need it: 

  • Promotes healthy digestion
  • Helps slow the body’s breakdown of carbs and the absorption of sugar
  • Lowers risk of heart disease
  • Lowers risk of stroke

How to get it:

  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Fiber supplements

Vitamin B-12

Why you need it: 

  • Helps create red blood cells
  • Helps maintain healthy nerve system
  • Lowers risk for dementia

How to get it:

  • Fish, meat, and poultry
  • Eggs
  • Milk and milk products
  • B12 supplements

Protein

Why you need it: 

  • Helps build muscle mass
  • Helps the body absorb calcium
  • Helps stimulate bone density

How to get it:

  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Eggs and dairy
  • Soy and beans
  • Legumes and nuts
  • Supplemental protein powders or pills

Folate/Folic Acid

Why you need it: 

  • Reduces risk of vascular disease
  • Increases mental agility
  • Generates red blood cells and DNA
  • Decreases risk of anemia
  • Helps digest protein
  • Helps regulate the appetite

How to get it:

  • Liver
  • Broccoli
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Citrus fruits

Potassium

Why you need it: 

  • Helps keep bones strong
  • Helps reduce high blood pressure
  • Helps maintain total body fluid volume
  • Lowers risk of kidney stones
  • Reduces risk of stroke

How to get it:

  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
  • Beans
  • Bananas

Magnesium

Why you need it: 

  • Supports the immune system
  • Aids in neuromuscular transmission
  • Helps regulate body temperature
  • Helps body absorb calcium
  • Helps activate Vitamin D in the kidneys
  • Reduces risk for hypertension

How to get it:

  • Sunflower and sesame seeds
  • Almonds and cashews
  • Spinach and broccoli
  • Soybeans, black beans, and black-eyed peas
  • Peanut butter
  • Brown rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Bananas
  • Cow’s milk

Water

Why you need it: 

  • Replaces fluids lost through perspiration
  • Aids in digestion
  • Hydrates the blood and tissues
  • Lubricates the joints
  • Regulates temperature
  • Carries nutrients
  • Removes toxins and waste materials
  • Lowers risk of daytime fatigue
  • May help reduce chronic pain
  • Increases energy and mood

How to get it:

  • Water, tea, and milk
  • Watermelon, oranges, and grapefruit
  • Tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and celery

You can count on us

At Bella Vista Health Center, we consider nutrition an important aspect of health, rehabilitation, and recovery. We make it a point to serve nutrient-rich meals to our patients and, when necessary, to help them understand the role of nutrition in their health. 

If you are seeking a home away from home for yourself or someone you love during a recovery period, or if you are looking into a skilled nursing facility for a loved one, you can trust in the care we provide. 

We know we’re not the only option in the community.  But we also know the high standard we set in quality care makes us an excellent choice.