a variety of food sources including fruits (citrus, kiwi, apricots, cantaloupe), vegetables (sweet potatoes, peas, broccoli), dairy, nuts, meats and poultry (beef, chicken, turkey) and fish (cod, salmon).
Folic acid is found naturally in fruits (oranges and melons), vegetables (dark leafy greens), nuts, beans and many grains (pasta, cereal, bread), which are fortified with this B-vitamin. Unfourtanetly, women age 14-30 (specifically before and during pregnancy) and people with some GI conditions such as Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel and celiac disease are at risk of being folate deficient. So why is folate so important? Folate is important because it helps make DNA and healthy cells including red blood cells. It is especially important for expectant mothers to consume enough folic acid. Your doctor may prescribe a prenatal vitamin that will include this important nutrient.
Are you at risk for heart disease? Do you have rheumatoid arthritis? Suffer from depression or asthma? Omega-3s are great for preventing and controlling these diseases. They may even help stave off dementia as we age. There are three types of omega-3s: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is converted by the body into the biologically active eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are primarily found in fatty fish and algae while ALA is found in plant sources like walnuts and flax.
How much you need: Unfortunately, about half of Ameicans don’t get the amount of omega-3s needed for optimal health. If you are a fish lover, you may be covered. However, if you don’t eat at least two servings of fish per week, choose a supplement that is USP- or NSF-certified for potency and purity, such as Omax3 or New Chapter Wholemega Fish Oil to be sure the supplement you’re taking is free of any potential contaminants.
Calcium is needed for strong bones and teeth, muscle movement, transmitting nerve signals from the brain to the rest of the body and for healthy blood vessels. The problem is 40 percent of Americans aren’t getting the recommended amount of calcium, which can be found in dairy foods (yogurt, milk, cheese), calcium-fortified orange juice, soy milk, rice milk, canned salmon, almonds, kale, broccoli, bok choy, grains and fortified cereals.
How much you need: Current recommendations are that men and women take in 1,000mg of calcium a day. Women 51 years or older should get 1,200mg a day, although some researchers advocate for re-examining and potentially lowering these recommendations based on new research. If you are lactose-intolerant or don’t include dairy and greens in your diet, it is wise to consider taking a daily supplement.
Hopefully, this list puts you on the path to getting those vital nutrients and a healthier future.