Five Surprising Nutrients that May Be Missing from Your Diet

By on December 2, 2014
woman putting supplement on fork in mouth

By Elaine Rosales −

The saying, “you are what you eat,” is probably one of the most accurate and truthful adages. If you want to optimize your health, age gracefully, and prevent pre-mature death, it’s important to eat healthy, wholesome foods that can provide you with life-giving nutrients.

Sadly, many people today have become accustom to the conventional American diet that is composed of mostly processed, nutritionally deficient foods. This has led to becoming deficient in essential nutrients that are key to achieving optimal health.

Bring These 5 Essential Nutrients into Your Diet

Here are five anti-aging and health-promoting nutrients that many people should strive to get from their everyday meals. Please note that this is just a partial list, as you need a wide variety of nutrients in order to stay in the pink of health.

  1. Omega-3 fats – Omega-3s are one of the most important essential nutrients out there today, and according to Dr. William Harris, an expert on omega-3 fats, your omega-3 index, which measures the levels of omega-3 in your blood, may be an effective marker of your rate of aging. People who have an omega-3 index of less than four percent age much faster than those with indexes above eight percent.

You can get omega-3 fats from both animal and plant foods, but remember that most of the health benefits of omega-3 fats are linked to animal-based eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and not the plant-based alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) found in foods like flaxseed, chia, and hemp. Therefore, you should strive to get the majority of your omega-3s from animal foods, and supplement with plant-sources. The best animal sources of omega-3s are krill oil and mercury-free fish, such as wild Alaskan salmon.

  1. Magnesium – This nutrient plays a crucial role in DNA repair and is a precursor for neurotransmitters like serotonin. It helps perform various biological functions, such as energy production, digesting proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, and activating nerves and muscles.

The best dietary sources of magnesium include legumes, nuts, and seeds. Pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds, cashews, and raw, unpasteurized almonds are good choices.

  1. Calcium – If you want to keep your teeth and bones strong and healthy even into your senior years, then you must get enough calcium in your diet. It’s essential in preventing osteoporosis and maintaining bone health. Your body cannot produce its own calcium (you actually lose it daily through your skin, nails, hair, sweat and elimination) so you must replace it on a regular basis.

However, elemental calcium supplements like calcium citrate and calcium carbonate have been linked to numerous health problems. Instead, get your daily dose of calcium from raw milk and other raw dairy products, sesame seeds, or dark green leafy vegetables like mustard greens, collard greens, spinach, and turnip greens. Dietary calcium is absorbed better than supplemental calcium, helping optimize your calcium levels even as you age.

  1. Vitamin B12 – Found mostly in animal tissues like beef, beef liver, lamb, snapper, venison, shrimp, salmon, poultry, scallops, and eggs, vitamin B12 is known as the “energy vitamin.” It’s essential for DNA synthesis and blood formation. Since vitamin B12 is mostly found in animal products, vegetarians and vegans are usually deficient in this nutrient. The few plant foods that are sources of B12, such as fermented soy like tempeh, actually contain B12 analogs. These are substances that block the uptake of true B12, which increases your body’s need for the nutrient.
  1. Vitamin K2 – The Rotterdam Study, published in 2004, was the first study that revealed the beneficial effects of this vitamin. Researchers found that the people who consumed 45 micrograms (mcg) of K2 every day lived seven years longer than people who only got 12 mcg per day. Another study, called the Prospect Study, found that people who received an additional 10 mcg of vitamin K2 in their diet experienced nine percent fewer cardiac events. The Prospect Study followed 16,000 people for 10 years.

You can get vitamin K2 from fermented foods, particularly cheese and the Japanese food natto, which is actually the richest source of K2.

There Is No “Magic Pill” for Optimal Health

Don’t fall for diet fads that promise to improve your health overnight – they do not exist. Instead, focus on consuming balanced wholesome meals that are loaded with the nutrients you need. Consume wholesome organic foods in their raw state to ensure that you’re getting the most nutrients.

One great idea is to grow your own sprouts. They are fairly easy to grow and take care of. You can sprout your organic seeds in trays – they do not take up much space.

Remember, being vigilant about what you put in your body is certainly the simplest and most effective way to achieve good health and promote longevity.

 

Elaine Rosales is a writer for Mercola.com. One of her recent articles is about the benefits of consuming raw vegetables and organic sprouts. She is also researching ways to maximize the nutrients in food to ensure that they lead to optimal health and longevity.

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Five Surprising Nutrients that May Be Missing from Your Diet