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7 Nutrients Your Diet May Be Missing

Chances are, you need more of seven nutrients discussed here. Many adults don't get enough of them.

You can fix that problem by following these simple steps for each nutrient.

1. Calcium

Why It’s Good for You: Your bones need it. So do your heart and other muscles. Studies have shown a link between getting enough calcium and lower blood pressure, as well as weight control.

How Much You Need: You need more calcium as you age, according to the Institute of Medicine, the group of experts that sets nutrient quotas. Here's what you need every day:

  • Ages 19 to 50: 1,000 milligrams
  • Ages 51 and up: 1,200 mg

How to Get More of It: Three servings of low-fat dairy foods each day, as part of a balanced diet, provide you with the calcium you need. If you have a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance, you can get calcium from calcium-fortified products, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

Some examples of foods that provide around 300 milligrams of calcium per serving include:

  • 8 ounces nonfat milk or nonfat plain yogurt
  • 8 ounces calcium-fortified orange juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces hard cheese
  • 8 ounces calcium-fortified soy milk, almond milk, or another milk alternative

2. Fiber

Why It’s Good for You: Fiber is good for your digestion, lowering cholesterol, and managing blood sugar levels. It's filling, and it's found in foods that are low in calories, so it helps you manage your weight.

How Much You Need:

  • Men ages 19 to 50: 38 grams; ages 51 years and older: 30 grams
  • Women ages 19 to 50: 25 grams; ages 51 years and older: 21 grams

How to Get More of It:

  • Include fruits and vegetables and high-fiber whole grains at every meal and beans several times a week.
  • Snack on whole-grain crackers, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds (including natural-style nut butters) or popcorn (a whole grain) instead of cookies, candy, or chips.
  • Choose whole-grain breads and cereals, whole wheat pasta, and other whole grains, such as quinoa, millet, barley, cracked wheat, and wild rice.
  • Look for breads with more than 3 grams of fiber per slice. Go for cereals with 5 or more grams of dietary fiber per serving.
  • Start a meal with a bean soup, such as lentil or black bean.
  • Add canned, rinsed chickpeas, kidney beans or black beans to salads, soups, eggs, and pasta dishes.
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