You may not eat fast food every day and you try to avoid sweets, but your body might still be lacking important nutrients. The good news is that it isn’t too hard to make a few simple changes to your diet to ensure you’re getting the nutrition your body needs to keep you healthy. So, what nutrients ARE you lacking?
Iron is an essential mineral used to transport oxygen in the blood. Signs of an iron deficiency can include fatigue, swelling or soreness of the tongue, brittle nails and frequent infections. While women may be more prone to iron deficiency—also known as anemia – it isn’t something only women are afflicted with. Including iron-rich foods in your diet is a great way to help ward off iron deficiency anemia. These can include:
- Cooked beans
- Breakfast cereals enriched with iron
You don’t have to be a pirate to get scurvy (the classic vitamin C deficiency). By avoiding fruits and vegetables, many people open themselves up to a vitamin C deficiency. Important to growth and repair of tissue in the body, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and helps protect cells from damage when the food we eat gets converted to energy. Vitamin C is also important to helping our immune systems function.
Great sources of vitamin C include:
While you’ve probably heard that calcium is important for your bones, almost every cell in your body uses calcium to some extent. If you aren’t getting enough calcium in your diet, your body leeches calcium from where a lot of it is stored: our bones. Calcium is also important for healthy blood pressure, blood vessels and women’s health.
Also crucial for bone growth and health, vitamin D has also been shown to reduce the risk of several cancers and weight gain. Vitamin D is made within the body thanks to exposure to the sun. Spending as little as 30 minutes two times a week in the sun is normally enough time for the body to create a health amount of the vitamin, so get outside and soak up the sun!
Some foods that also contain vitamin D include:
- Egg yolks
- Fortified milks, yogurts and orange juices
Fiber may be an important part of bowel and colon health, but it also helps us lower our cholesterol and maintain a healthy weight. If high-fiber cereals or beans aren’t exactly your thing, there are several other options for people looking to include more fiber in their diets:
- Eat more whole grains
- Add more apples, bananas, berries and oranges to your meals (like breakfast)
- Find ways to add more vegetables to your diet like broccoli and carrots