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Blog posts tagged with 'potassium'

The Missing Part to a Balanced Diet

Fruits and VegetablesAre You Eating Enough Fruits and Veggies?

As adults, it’s time to take responsibility – and realize that our parents may have been onto something when they said to finish our greens. Unfortunately, too many have us haven’t taken that advice to heart. Recent studies have shown that only 1 in 10 Americans meet the federal fruit and vegetable recommendations. You usually need 1½ to 2 cups per day for fruit and 2 to 3 cups for vegetables. Yet only 9% of adults eat enough vegetables, and 12% even get enough fruit. If you’re one of those adults skipping past the salad bar, it’s time to take action.

The Missing Part to a Balanced Diet

There’s a reason you should care about fruits and vegetables. Many important vitamins and minerals are in these food types more than others. Potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A and folate are just some of the more common nutrients that you can mainly get from plant-based food, and are beneficial to the body. For example, potassium can help maintain blood pressure. Folate builds up the red blood cells while helps stave off birth defects in pregnant women. Vitamin A promotes healthier eyes and skin, vitamin E protects from free-radicals, and vitamin C supports healthier gums and helps the body absorb iron. 

One other vital nutrient is fiber, and you get plenty of that from fruits and vegetables. Fiber is perfect for weight management, as it helps you feel full faster, while also lowering your blood cholesterol. It is also important for a healthy digestive system for regular bowel movements. Fruits and vegetables are also quite low in fat, sodium and calories, another great use for weight management.

But perhaps one of the most important aspects of this food group is their richness in phytonutrients – which are certain extracts that are only available in fruits and vegetables. 

Getting Your Share of PhytonutrientsFruits and Vegetables

Phytonutrients are known as the protective effects on fruits and vegetables, and many have shown their worth in helping ward off health complications in our own bodies. These phytonutrients are what gives fruits and vegetables their taste, scent and color. As many work like antioxidants, fruits and vegetables can very well protect your body from free-radicals and keep your cells healthy. Some examples of phytonutrients are:

Carotenoids: Present in carrots, broccoli and spinach, carotenoids are antioxidants that give these foods their bright colors. This phytonutrient is a boon to the immune system, while also showing positive impact for good eye health. 

Capsaicin: Peppers are rich in this nutrient and have shown benefits in reducing clotting for better heart health.

Curcumin: A phytonutrient that is rich in the turmeric spice. It is an anti-inflammatory agent, as well as antioxidant, that is commonly used in joint health.



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Lacking Daily Nutrients? Here’s Some Important Signs to Look For

Important signs to look for if you are lacking daily nutrients

A balanced diet is said to provide you with all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you need each day. There are many processes in your body that need nutrients for areas like energy levels, heart health, blood sugar, skin and cell health, lungs, liver, and more. While nutrition is the means to good health many Americans continue to struggle receiving everything they need through their daily diet. So how do you know you’re missing key nutrients and what specifically should you look for?

Common Signs Your Missing Some Daily Nutrients

Three important nutrients you should focus on are magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Being deficient in these three can surface as muscle cramps, specifically in your toes, calves, back of legs, and even the arches of your feet. Magnesium deficiency is more common than you may think.

An estimated 80% of Americans may be deficient in magnesium, and even as a trace mineral it serves a wide range of healthy purposes. It helps create the necessary energy—ATP—your body needs, while aiding in the digestion of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It also serves as a building block for RNA and DNA synthesis and acts as a precursor for certain neurotransmitters like serotonin, which is important for mood and a healthy sleep cycle.

Potassium's primary functions in the body include regulating fluid balance and controlling the electrical activity of the heart and other muscles. Potassium is an electrolyte that counteracts the effects of sodium, helping to maintain a healthy blood pressure levels.

Calcium is a well-known mineral needed by your bones. A Calcium magnesium balance is crucial. Too much calcium without enough magnesium can lead to muscle spasms, and additionally, to heart concerns. Some early signs of magnesium deficiency can also include a loss of appetite, headache, fatigue, and an overall feeling of weakness.

You May Not be Getting Enough of This Common Vitamin

Vitamin D is one of the most common vitamins in day to day health, but many Americans still remain deficient. Researchers estimate that 50 percent of the general population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency, and this percentage rises in higher-risk populations such as the elderly. It has been estimated that as many as 95% of senior certain may be deficient in vitamin D, due to factors like spending time indoors. For example, an underlying factor for seniors’ vitamin D deficiency can be that people over the age of 70 produces around 30% less vitamin D than a younger person with the same amount of skin exposure.

Signs that you may be deficient in Vitamin D can be weight gain, aches due to bones and joints, low moods, sweating and even gut discomfort. While you can receive plenty of vitamin D from sun exposure, that method comes with its own concerns as well. Luckily supplementation of vitamin D can allow you to receive the necessary amount you need. Some formulas will even combine the valuable trace minerals you need like magnesium and even calcium in one formula.

Regardless of any demographics, age, race, gender, or even weight, nutrients are a constant necessity for healthy living. Lack of nutrients can lead to certain symptoms which in turn can lead to other more serious health concerns when it comes to areas like the heart, blood pressure, blood sugar, weight management and more. Make sure you assess your daily health by checking to see if you have any symptoms that could mean a nutrients deficiency! Learn more and make the right choices to live healthy today!

 

References:

http://www.fitness.gov/eat-healthy/why-is-it-important/

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/tdmarch2008pg39.shtml

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/11/03/nutrient-deficiency-signs-symptoms.aspx

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Changing Needs: A Focus on Age and Proper Nutrition

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Changing Needs: A Focus on Age and Proper NutritionMany people can recite the names of the most popular vitamins and prominent minerals such as vitamin A, D, calcium, and potassium. But are you getting enough each day? Many people are, in fact, missing some of the main nutrients needed to sustain healthy living—especially older adults. As diets change, the number of calories older adults absorb can drop. This can lead to a deficiency in some of the more vital nutrients that are needed for good health and increased longevity. To help you sustain ongoing health, here are some of the top nutrients you should look out for to help ensure that you’re getting the proper amounts.

Bones, Cells and Heart Health

Calcium is essential to supporting healthy bones and teeth. Bone development continues throughout adulthood, which is why your body needs a steady supply of calcium. Not getting enough calcium can lessen your bone density over time, leaving them brittle and making you more susceptible to falling and incurring injuries. Besides dairy products, broccoli and kale are also rich sources of calcium. You can also turn calcium supplementing into a treat by making a smoothie out of yogurt, fruit, and vegetables.

Along with helping maintain healthy nerve function, vitamin B12 helps in the formation of DNA, RNA, and red blood cells. B12 is especially important for older adults because they can’t absorb it as easily as younger people can. To get enough B12, eat plenty of fish, poultry, meat, eggs, and milk.

Folate, or folic acid, is another B vitamin (vitamin B9). Folic acid supplementation is recommended in pregnant women because adequate folate levels during pregnancy may help reduce the incidence of neural tube defects in babies. It has also been connected to protecting heart health and reducing risks of heart concerns later on in life. As one of the eight B-complex vitamins, folic acid helps convert the body’s food into fuel and is a crucial part of overall wellness.

Essential Nutrients for Internal Conditioning

Much has been written and debated about vitamin D. At its core it helps the body absorb calcium and is important to bone density, skin health, immune function, and many other processes in the body. While your skin is capable of producing some vitamin D when you’re exposed to the sun, many people do not spend enough time outdoors to satisfy the recommended daily value. Vitamin D amounts can vary by gender and age, but adults ages 19–70 should get, on average, at least 600 IU each day by remembering to step out in the sun or eating cereals, milk, and juices fortified with vitamin D.

Potassium is an electrolyte that helps your cells, tissues, and organs function properly. It is also connected to the electrical activity of the heart, and aids healthy blood pressure and kidney function. The daily requirement for potassium is 4,700 mg, which can be obtained from bananas, prunes, potatoes, dairy products, soy, and some fish.

While the body doesn’t need much magnesium, it still plays a crucial role in some 300 different processes in your body. Often associated with heart health, magnesium is also pertinent to a high-functioning immune system and bone health as 66% of the magnesium your body needs is stored in the bones. Although magnesium is found in many common foods such as grains and nuts, it is still estimated that people only get 66% of the necessary daily value. You can help make up for this deficit by eating more unprocessed foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, beans, and seeds.

Keeping Well Fed and Watered

Your digestive tract has a lot of responsibilities that include nutrient absorption, waste elimination, and immune health. Fiber, which is a type of carbohydrate that can’t be digested by the body, aids the digestive system. It is also known for supporting heart health. The national recommendation for fiber is 30–38 grams a day for men and 25 grams a day for women ages 18–50.

The last area of nutrition that is often overlooked is hydration. Fluids are an important part of your diet; water being the most crucial. As you get older your sense of thirst can decline, but no matter what age you are, hydration is important for every process mentioned in the above paragraphs. It is often said that if food is your body’s fuel, then fluid is the coolant. Nutritionists recommend drinking 3–5 large glasses of water each day, or 8 glasses if you’re physically active.

Covering Your Bases of Nutrients

Sometimes keeping track of what your body needs can seem overwhelming. However, if you’ve already made the decision to eat healthier by managing your food groups and portions, you can easily figure out what vitamins and minerals you are getting enough of, and what areas you may need to focus on. Supplementation for many vitamins and minerals is always a viable option due to the various nature of different diets. Getting a wide variety of what you need, at each point in the aging process, however, is crucial to continued healthy living, and it starts with what you know.

References:

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