Posted on December 03, 2021
Category: Healthy Habits
Eating healthy can be tough. Let’s be real. Not everyone has the time to set a proper eating schedule, prepare meals, or count their calorie/nutrient intake. These days, everything is on the go. Even health. To make up for improper eating, many of us get a quick fix on necessary nutrients through vitamins.
In 2019, the American Osteopathic Association put up a poll that revealed that 86% of Americans take vitamins or supplements. But that raises a question: are people taking the right vitamins?
If you think about it, Vitamins are a lot like music: what you take in can really affect your mood. You’ve got your classics hits like the multivitamin and vitamins A all the way to D. But chances are you’re missing some hidden gems that can really improve your vibe.
What Nutrients do Most People Lack?
When it comes to nutrition and dieting, a common mindset has people focusing on “what we can’t eat,” rather than “what should I be eating?” Being healthy isn’t about strictly cutting out sugars and high calorie foods. It’s about replacing them with beneficial nutrients.
The most recent U.S. Dietary Guidelines says there are seven important nutrients that most Americans aren’t getting enough of:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Many of these vitamins sound familiar. Because they are. You can find them just about anywhere. Calcium is easy to fit into your diet – it’s in milk, cheese, and most dairy products. Fiber and Vitamin C are found in most fruits and vegetables from beans and broccoli to berries and avocados. And high amounts of Vitamin A are found in vegetables and eggs.
The three outliers are Magnesium, Vitamin E and Potassium. Save for potassium, these vitamins probably aren’t household names. If they are, do you know where to find them and, more importantly, what they can do you for your health?
The Power of Potassium.
These days, potassium is synonymous with “banana.” It’s true that the fruit contains a high amount of it [422 mg], but there’s so much more to it than that.
Potassium should be referred to as a “power mineral.” Medicine Plus reports that it helps your nerves function, muscles to contract, and that it even helps your heart maintain a steady beat. It also partially prevents sodium’s negative affects to your blood pressure.
If you peel back the layers of potassium, you’ll see you can find it in plenty of foods:
Leafy greens like spinach, collards, and swiss chard are fine examples that contain strong potassium levels. Beyond the banana, other fruits (either from the vine or contain citrus) like grapes, blackberries, oranges, and apricots also suffice. Lastly, root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, zucchini, and mushrooms are also good providers.
The Vitality of Vitamin E.
When it comes to its other, more popular brothers and sisters, Vitamin E is often left out of the conversation. That isn’t because it’s less beneficial, it’s because not many know what its benefits are.
It might come last in the vitamin alphabet family, but it should be near the top of your daily mineral list. Vitamin E helps with your vision, reproduction, and keeps your brain and blood healthy.
Vitamin E is also great for your skin.
In fact, many dermatology companies use Vitamin E in their beauty products – especially ones having to do with hair.
Vitamin E can:
- Prevent hair loss
- Increase blood flow in your head
- Moisten your skin
- Make your hair shine
- Increase your scalp health
Vitamin E holds heavy in antioxidant properties. The Mayo Clinic says that these helps protect your cells against the effects of free radicals. These are molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation. Free radicals have also been known to be a factor in heart disease and cancer.
You can find Vitamin E in foods like leafy greens and nuts. You can also find it in sunflower oil and olive oil. According to Healthline, those Antioxidants from Vitamin E, when found in food are proven to be stronger than what you’d get in its pill form.
The Magic of Magnesium.
With magnesium, the problem isn’t so much on where to find it as in how much we need to ingest. The amount you need varies on your age.
In a balanced diet, a little magnesium goes a long way, and it’s in just about everything:
- Whole Grains
- Leafy Greens
You can get it by simply drinking water: bottled, mineral and even tap.
Magnesium’s role is important as it supports muscle and nerve functions and stimulates energy productivity. Now, nothing dire will happen to you if you’re not quite reaching your daily magnesium count, but if you’re hitting chronically low levels, you’re at an increased risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.
The same thing can be said if you overindulge in magnesium. If you’re going overboard on supplements, that can result in nausea, cramps, and diarrhea.
Here are recommended magnesium doses according to WebMD:
(19-30 years) – 400 mg
(31 years +) – 420 mg
(19-30 years) – 310 mg
(31 years +) – 320 mg
For pregnant women:
(14-18 years) – 400 mg
(19-30 years) – 350 mg
(31-50) – 360 mg
Understanding Your Nutritional Value.
If there’s a common goal that potassium, vitamin e, and magnesium all share, it’s to give you a sense of balance. Balance is easy to lose when life is constantly shuffling you from side to side. But if you’re taking the right supplements daily, you’ll be able to shuffle that groove to fit your style. To find out what vitamins you’re in need of or how your body may react, consult a doctor at Sioux Falls Urgent Care. Go out there and grab life by the handful (of vitamins).