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.
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
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. Fiber can also help lower your LDL, or bad cholesterol, which could lower your risk of heart disease.
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.
- Although food sources of fiber are best, fiber supplements can help you get the daily amount of fiber you need. Examples include psyllium, methylcellulose, wheat dextrin, and calcium polycarbophil. If you take a fiber supplement, increase the amount you take slowly. This can help prevent gas and cramping. It’s also important to drink enough liquids when you increase your fiber intake.