7 Nutrients Missing in Your Diet

Potassium: Lower Blood Pressure

The USDA says American adults don't get enough of seven essential nutrients. Potassium is a key one. Studies show that potassium can help keep blood pressure healthy. Potassium also supports fertility and muscle and nerve function. But while potassium is in lots of foods naturally -- like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and bananas -- many Americans still aren't getting enough.

Magnesium: Prevent Disease

Low magnesium levels have been linked with health problems like osteoporosis, high blood pressure, diabetes, muscle cramps, and heart disease. Some people, such as the elderly, people with stomach or intestinal problems, or those who regularly drink alcohol, are at risk for having low magnesium levels. So eat your spinach -- and your beans, peas, and nuts (especially almonds). They could do a lot for your health.

Vitamin A: Up Your Beta-Carotene

There are two types of vitamin A: retinol and carotenoids, like beta-carotene. It's the latter -- found in foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, winter squash, and many fortified cereals -- that we're missing. It can be a problem: Vitamin A is key in supporting good vision, healthy immunity, and tissue growth.

Vitamin E: Healthy Fat Benefits

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that's important for immunity, healthy skin, and good vision; it may reduce plaque buildup in blood vessels. It tends to show up in foods with higher levels of fat like almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, and oils such as safflower and sunflower oil. Peanut butter, to a lesser extent, also has vitamin E. If you cut down on fat for health reasons, be sure to get enough healthy fats.

Calcium: More Than Strong Bones

You probably know that calcium is good for bones. But that's not all. Calcium helps maintain muscle function and heart rhythm. It might even help prevent high blood pressure. Dairy is a good source, but foods like salmon and tofu are, too. One tip: Without enough vitamin D, your body can't absorb the calcium you take in.

Vitamin C: Immunity Booster?

Can vitamin C prevent the common cold? Maybe not. But some studies suggest it can shorten the duration of symptoms. This vitamin, found in many fruits and vegetables, has other benefits, too. It boosts the growth of bone and tissue. As an antioxidant, it might also help protect cells from damage.
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