It is no secret that nutrition plays a vital role in maintaining optimal health. However, with so many different diets and trends out there, it can be challenging to know what nutrients our bodies truly need. The good news is that several core nutrients are essential for our overall well-being. In this article, we will explore the top seven nutrients that you need to prioritize in your diet for optimal health.
Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body. It is made up of amino acids, which are building blocks that our bodies use to create everything from muscle tissue to enzymes. While meat and dairy products are some of the most well-known sources of protein, vegetarians and vegans can get their protein from sources such as beans, lentils, and quinoa.
Fiber is crucial for maintaining proper digestion and gut health. It helps regulate bowel movements, lowers cholesterol levels, and stabilizes blood sugar levels. Foods that are high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain health, reducing inflammation, and protecting against heart disease. While fish is one of the best sources of Omega-3s, you can also get them from chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
Calcium is necessary for maintaining healthy bones, teeth, and muscles. While dairy products are the most well-known sources of calcium, calcium can also be found in non-dairy sources such as leafy greens, tofu, and fortified products such as soy milk.
Vitamin C is crucial for strengthening the immune system and protecting against disease. It also helps with the absorption of iron from plant-based sources. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, berries, bell peppers, and broccoli.
Iron is essential for the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout our bodies. It is especially important for women, who tend to have lower levels of iron than men. Good sources of iron include leafy greens, beans, lentils, and fortified cereals.
Vitamin D is essential for bone health, immune system function, and reducing the risk of certain diseases. While sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, it can also be found in fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified products such as milk, cereal, and juice.
Prioritizing these seven essential nutrients in your diet can have a significant impact on your overall health and well-being. It can be challenging to get all of these nutrients from food alone, so incorporating a multivitamin, especially for those with dietary restrictions, can help supplement any gaps in the diet. Remember to prioritize whole, nutritious foods as much as possible, rather than relying on processed or packaged products. By taking care of your body through proper nutrition, you are setting yourself up for a happier, healthier life.
Northeast Missouri Health Council, Partners for a lifetime of health
Medical, Dental, and Behavioral Clinics in Kirksville, Missouri, Macon, Missouri, Milan, Missouri, and Kahoka, Missouri. Visit our website to find the nearest clinic to you. www.nemohealthcouncil.com