This crucial nutrient is key to maintaining healthy eyesight and robust immunity. It also plays a role in many other physiological functions, including tissue growth.
How much to shoot for: Adult women need 700 milligrams a day. Men need 900 milligrams.
Where to find it: Dark green and bright colored vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, pumpkins, winter squash, spinach, collard greens, romaine lettuce.
Bonus nutrients: Most vegetables are loaded with fiber and other vitamins, including C, another nutrient deficient in some diets.
Simple changes you can make: Have a salad with mixed greens along with dinner. Snack on carrot sticks or sliced red peppers. Make sure your daily diet includes at least four and preferably more servings of vegetables.
Vitamin C may not ward off colds, as once believed, but it is essential for maintaining a strong immune system. A potent antioxidant, vitamin C may help lower the risk of cancer. It's also required for wound healing. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans reports that some diets fall short of this critical nutrient.
How much to shoot for: Women need 75 milligrams a day. Men need 90 milligrams a day.
Where to find it: Citrus fruit, guava, peaches, kiwi, cantaloupe, red peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower.
Bonus nutrients: Many fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C also contain fiber, as well as other vitamins, including A and K.
Simple changes you can make: Have a piece of fruit for breakfast. Add a serving of vegetables to your lunch or dinner menu.
Vitamin K is essential for normal blood clotting. It also appears to play crucial roles in bone mineralization and cell growth. Falling short may cause bruising, nosebleeds, and brittle bones, among other problems.
How much to shoot for: Women need 90 micrograms a day. Men need 120 micrograms a day.
Where to find it: Kale, collard greens, spinach, beet greens, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, broccoli.
Bonus nutrients: Dark leafy green vegetables are loaded with vitamins A and C, as well as loads of fiber.
Simple changes you can make: Experiment with ways to add a serving of dark leafy greens to home-cooked meals. Spinach makes a great topping for pizza, for instance. Broccoli is a tasty addition to stir-fries and casseroles.