Many people have gone from eating home-cooked meals to consuming great amounts of processed foods, which usually are loaded with refined sugars and simple carbs. This change in people’s eating habits has since resulted in a massive increase of diet-related chronic illnesses, representing the biggest contributing factor in obesity and death.
It doesn’t have to be this way though. You can always switch to eating unrefined foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and other natural food items that undergo little to no processing. These deliver great amounts of antioxidants and other nourishing components. They’re also loaded with vitamins and minerals and don’t have added sugars, sodium, or starches.
Natural foods are also rich in key nutrients like fiber and potassium. These can shield you from chronic ailments, help with digestion, and even augment muscle growth and physical functions. However, most people don’t get enough nutrients that their bodies require. In most cases, we tend to miss out on the benefits of certain nutrients because we rarely include them in our diets.
Below are 5 essential nutrients you’re probably not getting enough of:
Potassium intake has been associated with reducing blood pressure and decreasing the risk of osteoporosis. It can also lessen the risk of diabetes and heart-related conditions. Moreover, the body requires potassium to help control water balance and to make sure that the nervous system and the muscles are working suitably without any problems.
Inadequate potassium intake can result in unpleasant physical manifestations, including muscle cramps, exhaustion, and constipation. The suggested consumption of potassium for adults is 4,700mg every day, but not everyone reaches this recommendation. This is because sodium frequently substitutes nutrients like potassium in such food items as cheese, packaged meats, sweets, and fast food. Natural foods rich in potassium are bananas, potatoes, spinach, and beets, among others.
Basically, fiber is a carbohydrate that’s not digestible. It goes throughout the body to help with digestion and avoid constipation. It also helps with potentially lowering cholesterol levels. There are two forms of dietary fiber: Soluble fiber aids in the reduction of blood sugar and cholesterol levels in the blood while insoluble fiber aids in the movement of food through the digestive system efficiently.
Sufficient intake of soluble fiber, such as oats, beans, and lentils, can help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and stroke, as well as shield the proper functioning of the arteries. Intake of insoluble fiber such as whole wheat, brown rice, and veggies, on the other hand, helps address problems related to digestive functions.
The recommended intake of dietary fiber is 25g for women and 38g for men. However, it’s not found in processed grains like white flour, which is why only 40% of Americans reach the suggested consumption.
Calcium is an essential nutrient that’s in charge of making sure that your bones remain healthy and well-functioning. It also helps with nerve transmission and blood clot. Basically, the body requires a significant amount of calcium to work right. However, our bodies don’t naturally generate this mineral, which means we need to obtain it from food.
Insufficient calcium can result in osteoporosis and bone fractures. Most people get their calcium from dairy and dairy by-products. Though most adults get their recommended intake of calcium, which is 1,000mg per day, young adults and those over the age of 51 don’t.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is the only vitamin we can get from food and the one we can also produce ourselves. The latter happens when the body makes Vitamin D in the form of a hormone as we process sunlight. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in shielding our bones, controlling cell growth and lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
What’s more is that this vitamin aids in the body’s calcium maintenance. For athletes, vitamin D can help decrease pain and swelling, lower the possibility of fractures and boost muscle protein. It can even lessen the risk of high blood pressure and heart-related conditions.
The suggested daily consumption of Vitamin D is 18mcg. However, only 28% of Americans reach this recommendation. The primary source of this vitamin is milk, but since most people don’t consume the suggested amount of calcium, they also lag behind when it comes to Vitamin D intake. Introduce more fish into your diet to get your required daily dose of Vitamin D.
Iron is an essential protein building block. It is basically involved in all bodily processes from transporting oxygen through the body to constructing muscles. Technically, the body cannot survive without iron. Insufficient iron can lead to exhaustion, memory loss, and muscle deterioration.
Women are more likely to suffer from iron deficiency than men since their recommended daily consumption is 18mg while men only need 8mg. Iron from meat and poultry is assimilated into the body 2-3 times more effectually than iron from plant sources.