You drink a coffee for breakfast on your way to a meeting and grab a quick salad with grilled chicken on your lunch break. Maybe you sneak a Kit Kat around 3 pm to boost afternoon energy levels and then chow down on lasagna at dinner.
You think your diet is fairly balanced, satisfying your hunger and your sweet tooth. However, are you getting all of the nutrients you need to live a long, healthy life, avoid disease, and age gracefully?
The following are powerful, essential nutrients that many modern Americans, regardless of socioeconomic status, are not getting or need more of. Without them, your risk for heart disease, stroke, fatigue, and weight gain dramatically increase, so be sure to incorporate these wonder nutrients into your day-to-day!
Want a strong skeleton? This nutrient is your ticket. Additionally, low levels of vitamin D are linked to heart attack and stroke, due to their inflammation-reducing properties. Vitamin D can also be credited with reducing appetite, by releasing more leptin, the hormone that communicates the “full” message to the brain.But that’s not all. This nutrient also reduces the likelihood of weight gain in the belly and invites the bloodstream to store less fat. Further, vitamin D supports healthy immune function, while low levels of Vitamin D are associated with depression.
How to get it: Vitamin D is created within your body due to the ultraviolet B rays that penetrate your skin on sunny days. However, your stores of vitamin D from carefree summer months can deplete once the darker winter days set in, particularly here in Seattle, an area known for long, rainy winters.
In order to get enough, get tested to determine your levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Your results should show 30 nanograms per milliliter or more. If you are coming up short, eating foods like salmon, which offers 900 IU per serving, mackerel, with 400 IU, or tuna (150 IU) can help bring your levels back to normal.
To make extra sure that you are getting enough, another method is to take 1,400 IU daily using a supplement. However, to make sure that this level is appropriate to your individual needs, we recommend a blood test, conducted in-office by one of our naturopathic physicians. Depending on your current reading, a dosage of this magnitude can boost levels to normal and maintain with daily use, righting winter deficits.
Involved in over 300 bodily processes, this mineral can help prevent heart
disease. As shown in a study in the Journal of the American College of
Nutrition, low levels of magnesium can increase your levels of C-reactive
protein, often associated with heart disease.
However, without intentional consumption, you are liable to intake less than the 400 milligrams per day, causing your cells to struggle with energy generation. Avoid both heart disease and low energy by fortifying your diet with magnesium-rich foods, including halibut, navy beans, and spinach. Supplements containing magnesium citrate are best absorbed by the body.
If you value your brain (and you should), B12 is one nutrient you’ll want to take note of. According to a British study, elderly people with low B12 levels lost brain volume faster over 5 years than their B12-rich counterparts.
While it’s common to consume the required daily allowance of 2.4 micrograms per day, medications, including acid-blocking drugs, Prilosec, and diabetes medications can all cause B12 deficiencies. To make up for these, add lamb, salmon, and most of all, fortified cereals to your diet. Because the B12 in meat is bound to proteins, your stomach needs to produce acid to release and absorb it.
However if you consume a bowl of B12-enriched cereal with milk, you’re all set for the day, even if you do consume one of the above medications. Be sure to discuss your B12 levels with your naturopathic physician regularly in the event that you need to add an additional supplement.
Love potassium? Your heart does. Potassium allows your muscles to contract and enables your heart to beat, all by helping your cells use glucose for energy.
Despite its essential function, average consumption of potassium is around 60 to 70 percent of the recommended 4,700 mg per day. In addition, high sodium consumption can boost blood pressure, requiring more potassium to sustain heart function.
How can you get enough? Avocados and bananas are your best options. Just half an avocado contains approximately 500 mg of potassium. A single banana has nearly 400 mg. Even potatoes provide hefty amounts of the nutrient at 1,600 mg each. Multivitamins do not cover your recommended daily allowance, so supplementing with food is your best bet.
Even if your diet feels balanced, there may be nutritional gaps that require filling. For best results, book a nutritional coaching appointment at Water’s Edge Natural Medicine. We’ll help you assess your diet, general health, and energy levels to determine which nutrients, if any, you might be missing and how you can begin to get what your body needs.
At Water’s Edge Natural Medicine, we are unable to process and rely on insurance claims for payment. Your insurance may pay for some of our services, though, and we will be happy to provide specific necessary codes so that you can file for reimbursement. Learn more.
Please do not submit any Personal Health Information (PHI). Current Patients can reach us via phone at (206) 966-4522