The common conception of a balanced diet is one that contains all the major food groups (carbohydrates (yes carbs!), fats, sugars, and protein). And it should include lots of fresh vegetables and fruits and whole grains. This is not a bad premise to work to when making your food choices, but a balanced diet should be delivering your body the essential nutrients it needs. You might think you have a healthy, balanced diet but if you aren’t eating sources that give these 15 nutrients you should consider making changes and adding new foods to your menu.
Vitamin D can be a tough one to get in to our diets, but of course the greatest source is sunlight. This can be hard if you want to stay out of the sun or live in a cooler climate. Vitamin is essential because it increases your absorption of other vital nutrients, magnesium and calcium. Great sources of vitamin D include salmon, mackerel, liver, cheese and egg yolks.
And speaking of magnesium, it really does have endless benefits from boosting energy to building bone density and helping to relax muscles and regulate neurotransmitters. The best foods for a magnesium fix include oatmeal, nuts, lentils, spinach and nut butter, all things that are readily available at any good food store.
Omega 3s are super important because they can work to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Fatty fish is a classic source of Omega 3 in many people’s diets, but if you are not a lover of fish then you can also get your days’ worth from something like two tablespoons of flaxseeds or walnuts.
Potassium is perfect to ingest after a big workout because it is effective in restoring your body’s electrolytes and helping to prevent painful muscle cramps. On average Americans meet less than half of their daily-recommended potassium intake, but you can rectify this by eating things like bananas, cooked beets, lentils, yogurt and spinach.
Lots of women are anemic which means that they do not have enough iron in their diets. Lean beef is the best thing to remedy this, but if you are not a meat eater then you can also find lots of iron in foods like edamame, lentils and broccoli. Having enough iron in your diet is vital to living a healthy life without the risk of repeated health problems.
Some of the many great benefits of choline include increased muscle and nerve function and boosted brain health. Choline can most commonly be found in things like beans and eggs, with the egg yolk being especially good for you in this respect. However, if you eat few eggs due to cholesterol problems than you can also opt for spinach and leafy greens.
Vitamin K is essential for the body to help to prevent blood clotting and also help to build stronger bones. Vitamin K combined with healthy fats from things like avocado, olive oil, oily fish and nuts can lower your risk of osteoporosis and heart disease, and it is also super effective in the healing of injuries.
Tofu, yogurt, low-fat white cheese like ricotta, these are all fantastic sources of calcium in your diet and cow’s milk of course. Calcium is key for building bone density and helping to prevent osteoporosis, so if you are still low even after incorporating these foods, it might be a good idea to take visit your doctor and arrange taking a supplement.
Vitamin C seems like an obvious nutrient to be classed as essential, but many people aren’t eating as many fruits and vegetables as they should or as they think. Make sure that you are fully topped up on vitamin C by eating things like citrus fruits, red peppers, peaches, kiwi, cauliflower, cantaloupe and broccoli.
It might sound like a spell from Harry Potter, but phosphorus is super important! Phosphorus helps to detox your body and bring balance to your hormones, as well as boosting your energy, as it is required to your muscles move and contract. Rich sources of phosphorus include sunflower seeds, tuna, almonds, turkey, white beans and specifically, grass-fed beef.
Foods that are rich in fiber take much longer to digest and therefore can extend your energy throughout the day. Things like whole grains, nuts, beans, lentils, potatoes, vegetables and specifically the skin of apples can help to regulate your digestion and provide a water balance within your body.
This is an antioxidant that is found in many red hued foods like pink grapefruit, tomatoes and watermelon. Lycopene is great for your bone health, heart health skin and eyes, and it has also been known to lower the risk of several different cancers, along with improved circulation and decreased muscle soreness.
It may sound like science fiction, but the benefits of selenium are super real! It helps to keep your thyroid healthy and you can maintain your recommended intake by eating things like Brazil nuts, tuna, sunflower seeds and wheat germ.
B Vitamins are essential in the body for boosting energy levels and maintaining proper metabolic function. In particular, a deficiency in Vitamin B12 can be dangerous, but can be easily rectified by adding more meat to your diet or plenty of leafy greens if you are vegetarian or vegan.
Experts state that copper helps your metabolism to flourish and also protects your thyroid from harm. It has also been cited as a nutrient that can help to reduce symptom of arthritis, and you can receive all of these benefits by eating things like beets, oysters, wheat bran, almonds and avocados.
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