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10 Common Nutritional Deficiencies: Are You At Risk?

10 Common Nutritional Deficiencies: Are You At Risk?

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By    |   Thursday, 04 August 2016 11:43 AM

We all know that a good diet and exercise is important to optimal health. But good intentions often have adverse consequences when people unknowingly cut out key ingredients resulting in nutritional deficiencies.

Filling these can be a tall order, but you can start by increasing fruits and vegetables and by adding high-quality plant-derived supplements. Here are 10 common nutritional deficiencies and how to make sure your body is getting plenty of what it really needs.

1. Fiber. Most of us are deficient in fiber — the essence of fruits, veggies, nuts, and beans. Fiber can tame the insulin spike that results from excessive sugar consumption and lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. According to the Institute of Medicine, adult women need 25 grams of fiber a day and men need 38 grams. Two-thirds of that should be from soluble fiber from vegetables, fruits, beans and nuts.

2. Vitamin D. Most Americans don’t get enough vitamin D, which can be serious because it compromises our immunity. Vitamin D comes in two forms, D2 and D3. D2 comes from plant foods; D3 comes from animal foods, such as fish, eggs and liver. Your body also produces it when your skin is exposed to sunshine. How well we absorb it from food varies a lot depending on our age, lifestyle and health, so there is no one-size-fits-all prescription for getting up to healthy levels. The Vitamin D Council recommends we take 2,000 IU daily if we get little sun, although for deficiency your wellness doctor may recommend 5,000 to 10,000 IU of D3 for a month or so until you get up to par.

3. Healthy fats. Unlike refined junk oils from genetically modified plants like corn and canola, omega-3 fats from fish, flax seed or flax oil, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds are healthy fats that should be a regular part of your diet. Eating them daily lowers inflammation, combats depression and heart-threatening triglycerides, and supports brain health.

4. Antioxidants. These healthy cell protectors and cancer-cell blockers come mostly from plants like brightly colored berries, legumes, dark greens like kale, sweet potatoes, dark grapes like those in wine, and a variety of other fruits and vegetables with deep color. Bonus: All of these are also packed with fiber.

5. Lean and plant-based protein. Most wellness docs and nutritionists say Americans consume too much protein. But many, particularly those who follow plant-based diets, don’t get enough. Check the federal guidelines to see how much protein you need every day. And protein doesn’t need to be meat. Some of the best protein sources come from plants, such as legumes of all kinds, seeds, nuts and whole grains. Also consider seafood like small-mouth, wild-caught fish and lean, protein-rich, animal-based proteins, such as eggs and Greek yogurt.

6. Whole grains. These are high in fiber and protein but are also nutrient-rich. Whole grains have not been polished, stripped, or ground, so 100 percent of the original kernel (the bran, germ, and endosperm) is present. They come in a variety of tastes and textures, including quinoa, wild rice, brown rice, oats, barley, cracked wheat, bulgur, and wheat berries.

7. Magnesium. This chemical element is found in more than 300 different enzymes in your body. It’s a key player in removing toxins from your body and helping you to prevent cell damage from dangerous environmental chemicals and heavy metals. It also plays a major role in reducing stress and managing weight. You’ll find it in dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, avocados, whole grains, and dark chocolate.

8. Calcium. We always associate calcium with strong bones and teeth, and it does help prevent osteoporosis. But calcium also helps regulate muscle contractions and prevent heart disease and certain types of cancer. In addition to milk and yogurt, other foods rich in calcium include leafy greens like kale and spinach, legumes, some fruits, and seafood like sardines.

9. Cruciferous vegetables. These superfoods have it all: Fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Eat at least a cup a day of broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, or bok choy. They will enhance your liver’s ability to detox your body and help lower your risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke.

10. Healthy beverages. Start with water, water, and more water. The Institute of Medicine’s general guidelines suggest 125 ounces (about 15 cups) for men and 91 ounces (about 11 cups) for women every day. If you like lemon water, limit it to mealtimes, because it can cause acid erosion of the enamel on your teeth. Drink tea and coffee in moderation, but cut back on fruit juices and milk — and totally cut out real or artificially sweetened beverages. Limit alcohol to one serving per day if you’re a woman, two if you’re a man.

Dr. Susan Maples is a wellness expert and author of “Blabber Mouth! 77 Secrets Only Your Mouth Can Tell You To Live a Healthier, Happier, Sexier Life.”

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You know that eating a good diet is essential to optimal health. But many people unknowingly cut out key ingredients resulting in nutritional deficiencies. Here are 10 ways to make sure your body is getting plenty of what it really needs.
nutritional, deficiencies, risk
Thursday, 04 August 2016 11:43 AM
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