You and I know that an important part of having a happy life is being healthy, right? And we know that a big part of being healthy is getting the right nutrition. We all know it – but doing it? Not so easy. Most of us work, or we’re raising families or we’re just too busy to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. So we pop vitamins and supplements in an effort to get the nutrients we need.
But not so fast! Increasing numbers of nutritionists say that supplements are a slippery slope, and that many people consume some micronutrients at excessive and possibly unsafe levels. Not only that, but it’s no surprise that your body absorbs nutrients from food, far better than it does from engineered pills.
So what to do?
Simplify the way you get your nutrients from food. Here’s the easiest formula that I know of – every day, eat at least 3-5 servings of fruit and vegetables, and eat them in a variety of colors. Why the colors? Because colorful produce has lots of nutrients, and each color has its own different set of nutrients. You don’t need to worry about getting the exact right color combination – just eat a variety and have fun picking out these fruits and veggies. Consider it an art project.
If you make this easy on yourself by getting a variety of colors of fruits and veggies every day, you really don’t need to concern yourself with making sure you get enough of this vitamin or that one – you’ll get plenty by eating according to the above plan. But just so you know, the most important minerals and vitamins from food you should consume each day are Vitamins B6, B12, C, D, E, K, Calcium, Folic Acid (Folate), Iron, Magnesium, and Zinc. Click here to learn about what each does for you, how much you need each day, and the best food sources to get it.
I also found an sample menu from Harvard Medical School, so you can see how easy it is to get all of your nutrients every day. Click here to see the menu. The only vitamin that it difficult to get in sufficient quantities is Vitamin D, so you should add a daily supplement.
In general, there are some foods that you should make a standard part of your diet. These are dense in nutrients relative to their total calories:
- Vegetables: Dense greens (collard greens, chard, spinach, kale and mustard greens), bell peppers, peas, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms (particularly crimini and shiitake), and sweet potatoes.
- Fruit: Papaya, raspberries, strawberries and cantaloupe.
- Grains, Beans, Nuts & Seeds: Lentils, dried beans (kidney, navy, pinto and garbanzo), seeds (pumpkin, sesame, flax and sunflower), nuts (almonds, peanuts and cashews), and grains (oats, quinoa, brown rice and barley).
- Meat & Seafood: Salmon, cod, tuna, halibut, scallops, shrimp, lean beef, lamb, venison, chicken and turkey.
- Other: Avocados, low-fat yogurt and eggs
Featured photo source: Pixabay.com