Medically Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on October 06, 2020
Potassium

Potassium

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Like most Americans, you probably need more of this mineral. It’s good for your blood pressure and may lower your risk for kidney stones and bone loss. Your muscles and nerves need it to work right, too. It’s found naturally in milk, potatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados, and legumes.

Magnesium

Magnesium

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Spinach is good for you, but do you know why? Along with beans, peas, whole grains, and nuts (especially almonds), it's a good source of magnesium. Put some or all of these foods on your plate to help prevent disease.

If you have stomach or intestinal problems, type 2 diabetes, or long-term alcohol abuse, or if you’re an older adult, you’re more likely to be short on magnesium

Vitamin A

Vitamin A

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It supports good vision, healthy immunity, and tissue growth. There are two types of vitamin A: retinol and carotenoids, like beta-carotene. To get more into your diet, focus on orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, like sweet potatoes, carrots, and winter squash. You’ll also get it from spinach and broccoli.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D

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Your bones, muscles, and nerve fibers all need it. It also helps keep your immune system in its prime.

Your body can make vitamin D when you get enough sunshine. But too much sun is bad for you, so you can also eat foods including salmon, mackerel, and mushrooms exposed to ultraviolet light. Liver, cheese, and egg yolks have small amounts. Milk, some brands of orange juice, and many cereals are fortified with it, too.

Calcium

Calcium

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There’s more to this mineral than healthy teeth and bones. It’s also key for your muscles, including your heart. With potassium and magnesium, it might even help prevent high blood pressure. Dairy is an excellent source. Other foods with calcium include canned salmon, kale, and broccoli. Remember, you need vitamin D for your body to absorb calcium.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C

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Can it cure the common cold? Maybe not. But some research suggests it may make you feel less sick and better sooner. This vitamin, found in many fruits and vegetables, boosts the growth of bone and tissue. It's an antioxidant, too, so it might also help protect your cells from damage.

Fiber

Fiber

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You can get loads of benefits from whole grains, beans, and veggies and fruits. A high-fiber diet can help lower your cholesterol and keeps you regular. Plus, it might lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Extra fiber is great if you want to lose a few pounds: It fills you up, so you eat less.

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SOURCES:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and USDA. 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 8th Ed., December 2015.

Hoy, M.K, What We Eat In America, NHANES 2009-2010. Food Surveys Research Group Dietary Data Brief No. 10. September 2012.

American Heart Association.

Cooking Light: "More Potassium, Please"

University of Maryland Medical Center: "Magnesium."

NIH Office of Dietary Supplements: "Magnesium: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals," "Vitamin A: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals," "Vitamin D: Fact Sheet for Consumers," "Calcium: Fact Sheet for Consumers," "Vitamin C: Fact Sheet for Consumers."

Anderson, J.W. Nutrition Reviews, April 2009.