Over the past decade there has been a push to eat more lean protein for health and weight loss. Supplement industries began making lab-made supplements such as protein powders and green pills. While these helped with fulfilling high amounts of concentrated proteins that the new trend demanded, it does not include a wider variety of nutrients needed for the users of these supplements.
A shift is necessary in order for your body to absorb a variety of needed nutrients that cannot and are not found in supplements. Whole foods, especially those from plants, are vital to giving your body the entire amount of nutrients your body needs and craves. There are 7 key nutrients your body needs. These nutrients are:
- Calcium, Fiber, Vitamin A, Potassium, Folic Acid, Iron, Vitamin D
These nutrients are fairly well known, and if you went down the list, we’re certain you could name several ways that you can incorporate each of these into your diet. These nutrients would be like the popular kids at school. However, we all know that it’s the little guys who are necessary to make the big changes.
So, who are the under-appreciated nutrients that need to be re-emerged into your diet and make a name for themselves in the headlines of your menu?
1. Choline– This essential nutrient seemed to be banished from the nutrient headlines when it was unjustly partnered with cholesterol. However, it’s busting back into the scenes due to its important role it plays in the proper functioning of your cells, nutrient transport and metabolism. Most Americans do not consume the recommended diet of choline, which, according to the IOM, is 425 mg daily for females and 550 mg daily for males. To consume more choline into your diet, eat more egg yolks, milk, yogurt, kefir, beans, seeds, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli.
2. Lycopene– Studies suggest that lycopene-rich diets can help reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease and issues related to your eyes as you age. Lycopene is a bright red pigment that is found in your liver, blood, adrenal glands, lungs, prostate, colon and skin. It can be found in tomatoes and also be consumed through a number of fruits and vegetables such as red carrots, watermelons and papayas. Its antioxidant power makes it an important nutrient to consume to help prevent and fight disease.
3. Vitamin K and Magnesium– These are required for some of your major functions in your body such as protein synthesis, nerve function, control of blood sugar, regulation of blood pressure, metabolism of energy and neurotransmitter release. Magnesium-rich foods are vital for your cellular health. You can consume more magnesium by eating more spinach, pumpkin seeds, almonds, chard, Kefir, black beans, figs and avocadoes. Another way to ensure your foods are filled with magnesium is to buy organically grown products. They may have higher levels of magnesium because of the magnesium-rich soil that is used in organic farming.
4. Tryptophan– If you suffer from mood swings, Tryptophan can act as a natural mood regulator. This essential amino acid has the ability to produce and balance certain hormones naturally. It can also help you sleep better, manage chronic pain or migraines, relieve PMS or PMDD and help to alleviate depression and anxiety. To naturally get more Tryptophan in your diet be sure to consume cage-free eggs, spirulina, wild-caught fish, pasture-raised poultry, sesame seeds, cashews and walnuts and 100% whole grain oats.
5. B1 (Thiamine)– This nutrient is used in almost every cell in your body. It supports your metabolism and energy level. It helps your body maintain proper heath and nerve function. It is mostly found in whole grains and enriched grain products such as breads, pastas, rice and fortified cereal grains. During the refining process a lot of the vitamin can be lost so you will find foods fortified with it. However, you can consume it through nutritional yeast, seaweed, sunflower seeds, black beans, macadamia nuts, lentils, asparagus and brussel sprouts.
6. Iodine– This vital nutrient is important to your thyroid function and healthy metabolism. It can prevent certain chronic diseases and help in growth and development. It is necessary in almost all of your systems in your body to keep you alive and energized. You can feed your body with iodine-rich foods, including iodized salt, eggs, seasonal vegetable and fish.
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