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.
Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant. By neutralizing unstable oxygen molecules, it may help prevent damage to cells that could lead to cancer. Severe vitamin E deficiencies can cause nerve damage. Because many Americans don't get enough nuts and unsaturated oils, they may be in danger of falling short on this crucial nutrient.
How much to shoot for: 15 milligrams a day.
Where to find it: Almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, sardines, avocados, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil.
Bonus nutrients: Nuts are rich in unsaturated fats that help protect against heart disease.
Simple changes you can make: Snack on nuts. Put sliced avocado on sandwiches. Cook with a vitamin E-rich cooking oil.
This little known nutrient is essential for building and maintaining healthy cells. It is particularly important for muscle and nerve function.
How much to shoot for: 425 milligrams for women per day ; 550 milligrams for men per day.
Where to find it: Eggs, cooked dry beans, peas.
Bonus nutrients: Beans and peas are nutritional treasure troves, rich in protein and an array of nutrients, including folate, magnesium, and potassium.
Simple changes you can make: Have a hard-boiled egg for a snack now and then. Whip up an omelet with vegetables for lunch. Add cooked dry beans to your favorite Italian tomato sauce and spaghetti recipe.