3 Nutrients You're Not Getting Enough Of—and How to Add More to Your Diet
Nutrients your body needs more of
Sure, you watch what you eat (most of the time). But even generally healthy eaters can miss out on critical vitamins and minerals that the body needs to stay in fine tune, says Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean. Here, three nutrients that keep everything from your brain to your immune system humming—plus easy ways to make sure you get them, courtesy of Health’s contributing nutrition editor, Cynthia Sass, RD.
Vitamin B12 helps your body produce DNA and red blood cells, supports your immune system, and encourages healthy nerve function. Watch the video to learn which foods are high in this essential nutrient.
The main source of vitamin D is sunlight, but it's not impossible to get more in your diet. Watch this video for the 5 foods you can eat to get this essential nutrient, which helps build strong bones, a healthy immune system, and more.
It helps you snooze and eases pain
Lately it seems every insomniac is popping magnesium like crazy. While it won’t knock you out the way a sleeping pill might, the nutrient has been shown to help muscles relax and is also popular among athletes for soothing achy muscles, says Blatner. And magnesium, which may help quiet areas of the brain that keep us awake, could have a calming effect, helping to relieve mild anxiety that keeps you up at night. There’s also evidence that magnesium may ward off migraines.
Where to get it
Dietary surveys consistently show that Americans don’t get enough magnesium. That could be because magnesium is mostly found in high-fiber foods (veggies, brown rice), which have been largely replaced by refined or processed foods in the typical American diet. In addition to fiber, make sure you eat good fats in the form of seeds and nuts (including nut butters), which are some of the best sources of magnesium.
Dish it up
For a salad... Toss a few handfuls of fresh spinach with vinaigrette. Top with 1 cup black beans and 1⁄2 avocado, sliced.
For a snack... Stir pumpkin seeds, banana slices, 1 to 2 chopped dark chocolate squares, and a little cinnamon and maple syrup into a single-serve container of plain Greek yogurt.
For a side... Sauté chopped onions and Swiss chard in 1⁄4 cup veggie broth with garlic, fresh grated ginger, and crushed red pepper.
That time of the month? Reach for these.
Dark chocolate. It can help alleviate cramps and give you an emotional kick, too. “Dark chocolate contains substances that create a sense of euphoria,” says Sass.
Green tea. This healthy brew may be another stress buster. One study found that folks who drank five cups a day were 20 percent less likely to get stressed than those who had less than a cup.
Canned wild salmon. “Research shows that women with the highest intake of calcium and vitamin D are less likely to experience PMS symptoms,” says Sass. “Canned wild salmon with edible bones contains both nutrients.”