Are Americans Really Deficient in Nutrients?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) has found that many Americans’ diets are still not up to par. The problem is not a lack of food, but rather a lack of nutritious foods that supply the vitamins and minerals our bodies depend on to function.
Fruits and vegetables provide many of the important nutrients that Americans don’t get enough of. In fact, about 30 percent of the calories that Americans consume daily are from nutrient-poor junk foods like sweets, desserts, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages and salty snacks, a study published in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis found.
What Are the Seven Nutrients Many Americans are Lacking?
According to the NHANES study many Americans should increase their intakes of the following seven nutrients:
1. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects your cells from damaging free radicals, may protect against cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, helps your cells to communicate effectively and helps to boost your immune system. About 93% of Americans are not getting enough.
Food Sources: Mustard greens, Swiss chard, sunflower seeds (raw, preferably), turnip greens, almonds, spinach, papaya and olives.
2. Vitamin C is crucial for boosting your immune system, helping wounds heal, protecting against cancer and fighting against free radical damage. Over 30% of Americans are not getting enough vitamin C.
Food Sources: Red bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, parsley, lemon juice, strawberries, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cantaloupe, and grapefruit.
3. Fiber helps to support normal bowel regularity, maintain normal cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and may help maintain a healthy weight by staving off hunger. Approximately 96 percent of Americans are not getting enough.
Food Sources: Turnip greens, broccoli, raspberries, Swiss chard, raw celery, kidney and pinto beans, squash, strawberries and asparagus.
We will continue this list next week. Remember, the best source of your nutrients is always food. Talk to your doctor today if you suspect that you are lacking in nutrients because your diet is low in the foods that provide them.