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7 Nutrients Your Diet May Be Missing

6. Iron

Why It’s Good for You: Iron is responsible for transporting oxygen to cells and tissues throughout the body. It's important for women to get enough iron before and during pregnancy. Pregnancy is a drag on your iron supply and may cause iron-deficiency anemia in a new mom.

How Much You Need: Men need 8 milligrams per day of iron. Women need 18 milligrams per day from ages 19 to 50 (27 grams if they're pregnant) and 8 milligrams from age 51 on (because they are no longer losing iron through menstruation).

How to Get More of It:  Animal sources of iron include:

  • 3 ounces cooked beef: 3 milligrams
  • 3 ounces cooked dark-meat turkey: 2 mg
  • 3 ounces cooked light-meat turkey: 1 mg
  • 3 ounces cooked chicken thigh: 1.1 mg
  • 3 ounces cooked chicken breast: 0.9 mg
  • 1 large hardboiled egg: 0.9 mg

Plant-based iron sources include:

  • 1 cup fortified instant oatmeal: 10 milligrams
  • 1 cup cooked soybeans: 8 mg
  • 1 cup boiled kidney beans: 4 mg
  • 1 cup edamame, cooked from frozen: 3.5 mg

Spinach, raisins, and beans are also good sources of iron. So are whole-grain cereals that have been enriched with iron. Keep in mind that the iron absorption rate from plant sources is lower than with animal sources of iron.

7. Vitamin D

Why It’s Good for You: Your skin makes vitamin D in response to sunlight, but its ability to do that depends on your age, skin color, and where you live. Some experts recommend getting vitamin D from your diet instead of relying on the sun.

How Much You Need: Current recommendations call for adults ages 19-70 to get 600 international units of vitamin D per day, and 800 IU per day starting at age 71.

How to Get More of It: Natural sources of vitamin D include fish and egg yolk. Vitamin D-fortified foods include milk, yogurt, some orange juice products, and some breakfast cereals. You may need a mixture of both food and supplements to get the vitamin D your body requires.


WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Elaine Magee, MPH, RD on September 28, 2014
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