Nutrient deficiencies are becoming more common among those eating the typical American diet. Increased consumption of processed foods creates an imbalance of calories to micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). The irony is that as the most well fed nation, we are also suffering with the most widespread dietary related maladies. Let's take a look at 3 micronutrients necessary for optimal health and weight loss.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D is commonly known as the "sunshine" vitamin because the body naturally produces its own with exposure to sunlight. However, unless you are a professional surfer, you probably don't get the consistent amount of sunlight necessary to produce optimal levels throughout the year. The recommended daily allowance for most people is 600 International Units, yet many medical professionals suggest a higher dosage is necessary to prevent a deficiency - between 1,000 - 5,000 International Units per day.
Insufficient vitamin D levels may not present any symptoms at all, but the most common is inexplicable fatigue or decreased athletic performance. This deficiency is also linked to cardiovascular disease and some cancers. The best way to ensure adequate dosage is with a dedicated vitamin D3 supplement - the more active form.
Magnesium is a hugely important mineral for the body. It plays a role in energy metabolism, DNA synthesis, muscle function, immune system and bone health. Common deficiency symptoms include fatigue, cramps, and dizziness. Low levels may be attributed to poor diet, diabetes, and alcohol abuse.
Improve magnesium levels with a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, black beans, salmon, almonds, avocados, and whole grains.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fats are used as the building blocks for cellular membranes. The health of these membranes are essential for the exchange of chemicals and even insulin sensitivity. These fatty acids also serve as anti-inflammatories, anti-coagulants, and improve immunity, nervous system, and cardiovascular health. Brain issues such as poor memory, mood, concentration, and Alzheimer's disease have been linked to a deficiency in DHA, an omega-3 fat.
Supplements such as fish oil and krill oil have gained popularity for their high omega-3 content. Flax seed also contains potent amounts. To maintain optimal levels, be sure to balance high omega-6 foods like corn, vegetable oil and corn-fed animals with fish, walnuts, organic meats and eggs.
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