I bet you have a good handle on basic nutrition. You likely understand how important it is to get enough calcium, iron, and a handful of other well-known vitamins including vitamin D, C and E, for example.
Chances are you watch your diet to try to make sure you get all the nutrients you need to get and stay healthy. Maybe you even take a multi-vitamin to help cover your bases.
But the truth is our nutritional needs go far beyond the superstar nutrients we’ve all heard of. And while common nutrients such as calcium and vitamin C, for example, are critical for good health there are many other necessary nutrients you’ve likely never even heard of.
Overlooked necessary nutrients you need to stay healthy
Following are four necessary nutrients that probably aren’t on your radar, but should be.
Leucine is an important amino acid your body uses to build lean muscle mass. This necessary nutrient helps build strength, and provides you with energy, throughout your life.
But as we age, and begin to lose muscle mass, making sure we get enough leucine becomes even more important.
Older adults lose skeletal muscle with each passing year. Experts say it’s likely because seniors often move less and eat less than they did when they were younger. And that can lead to weakness and frailty (a condition doctors call sarcopaenia).
But getting enough leucine could help keep that muscle wasting to a minimum. Great sources of this important amino acid include tuna, eggs, chicken, pork, peanuts, cheese and lentils.
2. Pantothenic acid:
Pantothenic acid is one of eight important B vitamins your body relies on to convert the foods you eat into energy to fuel your body. It’s essential for metabolizing proteins, fats and carbs.
Also called B5, your body uses pantothenic acid for a number of other critical functions including producing…
- red blood cells
- sex hormones
- stress hormones
Plus this necessary nutrient supports adrenal function and a healthy nervous system. You’ll find a good amount of B5 in broccoli, kale, cauliflower, avocados, tomatoes, lentils and beans.
Choline is an essential nutrient which wears many different hats. Like its kissing cousins the B vitamins, choline helps support metabolism and energy production.
It’s important for normal brain development and function too. A key neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, relies on choline to function. And this necessary nutrient plays a role in nerve and muscle function, and supports your liver.
When your choline levels fall too low, you can begin to have muscle and liver problems. Your energy levels typically tank, and memory loss and other cognitive problems can pop up. Some experts believe choline deficiency could even play a role in age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
Diet is the best way to get the choline you need. To make sure you’re maintaining your choline levels try eating more salmon, beef liver, almonds, eggs, split peas, shrimp, chickpeas, navy beans, collard greens, pistachios and cod.
4. Vitamin K2:
When it comes to bone health most folks will tell you calcium is important. But vitamin K2 is even more critical because it helps channel the calcium you’re getting in your diet to where your body can use it most effectively.
And just as critically K2 helps keep calcium from building up where it shouldn’t… in your arteries. In other words, this necessary nutrient helps support strong bones and a healthy heart.
Many Americans don’t get enough K2 because it’s not plentiful in the Western diet. Food sources of K2 include natto (fermented soybeans), grass-fed cheeses (Brie and Gouda tend to have more of it) and eggs. Or you can consider taking a K2 supplement.
You work hard to stay healthy, so don’t stop with the basics. Make sure you’re getting enough of these four necessary nutrients too.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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