America is a fast food nation, and it’s no surprise that a lot of the choices we make when we’re out and about are not only bad choices to begin with, but there are few, if any, net positives about them either. As a result, we are some of the most overfed people in the world, but also some of the most malnourished. How do we fix that? It’s easy: we choose foods that have the proper “micronutrients.” Those are the vitamins and minerals the body needs most.
The Department of Agriculture says we don’t get enough calcium, potassium, magnesium, and
An average adult who eats 2,000 calories a day, according to the Department of Agriculture, should be consuming 1,136 milligrams of calcium in that day. How do you know you’re getting enough? To give you an idea, an eight-ounce cup of nonfat yogurt offers anywhere from 350 to 450 milligrams of calcium. Eat one of those and you’re a third of the way to making sure you have enough calcium for the day. Milk offers about 300 milligrams per cup, and you can get 150 milligrams from eating 1/2 cup of spinach and 100 milligrams from eating one packet of instant oatmeal. Sounds simple enough, right?
Then we get to potassium. This is the nutrient that the Department of Agriculture says that
Adults should be consuming just under 400 milligrams of magnesium per day. This isn’t something people think about much, and luckily it is easy to get your required daily intake. You
Vitamin A is critical in cell development, which helps maintain the heart, kidneys and lungs, and it also plays an important role in vision and how well we see. Adult males need approximately 900 micrograms of vitamin A per day. You’ve probably heard before that carrots help you see better, and they’re not wrong; nearly 2/3 of your vitamin A allowance is taken care of if you eat 1/2 cup of carrots. Spinach offers a similar amount of vitamin A, and if you eat one medium sweet potato, you have more than enough vitamin A for the entire day!
Vitamins C and E help form strong bones and fight damage to cells, respectively. Adult males
Ways to Track Your Vitamin and Mineral Intake
There are quite a few different apps you can download from the App Store or Google Play which will help you track your vitamin and mineral intake right on your smartphone. The most popular app that tracks the nutrients going into your body is one called “Cronometer.” Available in free and paid versions, not only will Cronometer track calcium, potassium, magnesium, and
If you’re interested in trying Cronometer on your computer, visit cronometer.com. You can learn more about vitamins and minerals and how to incorporate them into your diet by reading the current national guidelines from the CDC. Go to cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/vitamins.