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 milk, potatoes, sweet potatoes, legumes, avocados, and bananas — many Americans still aren’t getting enough.
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, whole grains, and nuts (especially almonds). They could do a lot for your health.
There are two types of vitamin A: retinol and carotenoids, like beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a carotenoid found in many orange and yellow foods — like sweet potatoes, carrots, and winter squash — as well as spinach and broccoli. Vitamin A is key in supporting good vision, healthy immunity, and tissue growth.
Vitamin D is important in the development of healthy bones, muscles, and nerve fibers as well as a strong immune system. Though our bodies can make it by exposure to sunlight, experts recommend getting vitamin D in other ways. A few foods naturally contain D, such as fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, mushrooms, liver, cheese, and egg yolks do. Milk, some brands of orange juice, and many cereals are fortified with vitamin D.
You probably know that calcium is good for teeth and 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, kale, and broccoli are too. One tip: Without enough vitamin D, your body can’t absorb the calcium you take in.
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