5 necessary nutrients

shortfalls with these nutrients (B12, potassium, iodine, vitamin D and magnesium) have serious health consequences, including a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, fatigue, and weight gain. here’s how to fortify your diet – and your health.

  1. VITAMIN D
    Its role in strengthening your skeleton. People deficient in D were up to 80 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. Vitamin D may reduce inflammation in your arteries. The nutrient triggers weight loss primarily from the belly. People with higher D levels in their bloodstream store less fat.
    * The shortfall: Vitamin D is created in your body when the sun’s ultraviolet B rays penetrate your skin. Problem is, the vitamin D you stockpile during sunnier months is often depleted by winter. At the end of winter, 36 percent of them were found to be deficient.
    * Hit the mark: Ask your doctor to test your blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. You need to be above 30 nanograms per milliliter. Come up short? Eat foods like salmon (900 IU per serving), mackerel (400 IU), and tuna (150 IU). Milk and eggs are also good, with about 100 IU per serving. To ensure you’re getting enough, take 1,400 IU of vitamin D daily from a supplement and a multivitamin.
  2. MAGNESIUM
    It’s involved in more than 300 bodily processes. Plus, t low levels of magnesium may increase your blood levels of C-reactive protein, a key marker of heart disease.
    * The shortfall: Nutrition surveys reveal that men consume only about 80 percent of the recommended 400 milligrams (mg) of magnesium a day. Without enough magnesium, every cell in your body has to struggle to generate energy.
    * Hit the mark: Fortify your diet with more magnesium-rich foods, such as halibut, navy beans, and spinach. Recommends ingesting some insurance in the form of a 250 mg supplement but scrutinize the ingredients list – you want a product that uses magnesium citrate, the form best absorbed by your body.
  3. VITAMIN B12
    Older people with the lowest levels of B12 lost brain volume at a faster rate over a span of five years than those with the highest levels.
    * The shortfall: There is an increase in B12 deficiencies due to interactions with medications. The culprits: acid-blocking drugs, such as Prilosec, and the diabetes medication metformin.
    * Hit the mark: You’ll find B12 in lamb and salmon, but the most accessible source may be fortified cereals. Eat a bowl of 100 percent B12-boosted cereal and milk every morning and you’ll be covered, even if you take the occasional acid-blocking med. However, if you pop Prilosec on a regular basis or are on metformin, talk to your doctor about tracking your B12 levels and possibly taking an additional supplement.
  4. POTASSIUM
    Without this essential mineral, your heart couldn’t beat, your muscles wouldn’t contract, and your brain couldn’t comprehend this sentence. Potassium helps your cells use glucose for energy.
    * The shortfall: High sodium can boost blood pressure, while normal potassium levels work to lower it.
    * Hit the mark: Half an avocado contains nearly 500 mg potassium, while one banana boasts roughly 400 mg. Also single large potato is packed with 1,600 mg.
  5. IODINE
    Your thyroid gland requires iodine to produce the hormones T3 and T4, both of which help control how efficiently you burn calories. Insufficient iodine may cause you to gain weight and feel fatigued.
    * The shortfall: Since iodized salt is an important source of the element, you might assume you’re swimming in the stuff. The result is that we’ve been sliding toward iodine deficiency since the 1970s.
    * Hit the mark: Iodine can also be found in a nearly sodium-free source: milk. Otherwise, eat at least one serving of eggs or yogurt a day; both are good sources of iodine.

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read article on Yahoo! Health by Bill Phillips and the Editors of Men’s Health: 5 Ingredients You’re Not Getting Enough Of

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