Eating right takes effort and planning. You can’t simply put whatever you want into your body and expect it to function properly. Take the time to eat the foods that are going to give you the most nutrient boost.
Interestingly, most people take in plenty of calories (usually far more than they need) yet they are lacking in many important nutrients that help the body function well.
Certain nutrients, especially fibre, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin D seem to be missing from the diets of many adults. The good news is that you can easily make some changes that will add these essential nutrients to your diet—and may even cut some calories along the way.
Get More Fibre: Men between the ages of 19-50 years old should be getting about 38 grams of fibre per day. That might seem like a lot; for example, it would be about 9 apples’ worth of fibre in one day. But, aiming to get enough, even if you don’t hit the mark, is pretty smart, since fibre helps to aid digestion, prevent high cholesterol and help reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure or diabetes. To get more fibre in your diet, add fruits and veggies as snacks, and choose nuts when you are hungry for something crunchy. Oatmeal for breakfast is another great idea, when you have a bowl with a cup of added blueberries, you can get an extra 6 grams of fibre right in one bowl.
Increase Potassium: Potassium is an important mineral that helps provide electrolytes to the body. It helps to control heart rate and function, and keep blood pressure under control. The recommended daily allowance for men is 4,700mg of potassium, and most men are barely getting half of that amount. Many fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of potassium. Potatoes and white beans also contain high amounts. Adding potatoes, bananas, avocados and white beans to your diet can give you a great potassium burst.
Get More Vitamin A: This important nutrient helps keep your immune system strong and functioning smoothly. Vitamin A comes in two distinct forms, retinol and carotenoids. It is more difficult to get the carotenoid form into our diets. Most adults are only getting about half of the vitamin A that they need to keep things running well. In order to boost this, we should be aiming to get more orange, red and yellow fruits and vegetables into our diets. Add peppers to your eggs in the morning, or eat hummus with carrots for lunch or a snack. Cantaloupe is another great choice. One cup of cantaloupe gives you more than 100 percent of your daily recommended amount of Vitamin A! Add some low fat cottage cheese and some almonds, and you have a healthy meal filled with protein, healthy fat, plenty of fibre and your entire day’s supply of vitamin A!
Increase Vitamin D Intake: At least a third of adult American men are not getting enough vitamin D in their daily diets. This includes even young, healthy men who get plenty of exposure to sunshine, which helps boost vitamin D. Those who have darker toned skin, are over the age of 50 or do not get enough sunshine are at the greatest risk. Experts recommend getting at least 600 IUs per day, and most people don’t get a fraction of that. Those who do not get enough vitamin D may experience aches and pains, or excessive fatigue. Try adding a serving of wild salmon a couple of times per week instead of your regular chicken or other meat. Add some Portobello mushrooms, grilled with balsamic vinaigrette, and you will give yourself a huge boost of vitamin D, with about 1,000 IUs at one meal!
Getting enough calories is important, but how you get those calories may be more important. You have to eat the right foods to get the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy and function well.
SOURCES: http://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/4-essential-nutrients; http://naturopathic.com/getting-enough-vital-nutrients/; Image courtesy of amenic181 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net