Are You Getting the Nutrients You Need for Good Health?

Health Building Foods

Do you keep track of your intake of vital nutrients? I doubt seriously if you do, my guess is that at least 95% of the American public doesn’t. Most people just do not see it as important. We do know that only 12% to 15% eat the recommended minimum of 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruits a day.  When you look at that those figures, it becomes easy to see why America’s health is spiraling downward, particularly for America’s children.  I want to convince you that keeping track of certain essential nutrients in your diet will foster good health and may even give protection against many adverse health conditions, illnesses and diseases.  This may take a little effort however in my opinion it is worth it.  Keeping a daily food journal for a while will give you an idea of the nutrients you are getting. For food journals I recommend two sites, this site is the most comprehensive and is free and secondarily this site is also free.

Many health organizations report that nutrition and lifestyle factors contribute to more than 70% of chronic disease and illness. Unhealthy eating and inactivity contribute to 310,000 to 580,000 deaths each year according to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). That’s 13 times more than are killed by guns and 20 times more than by drug use.1

Leading Contributors to Premature Death

Diet and Physical Inactivity 310,000-580,000
Tobacco 260,000-470,000


What adverse health conditions are you dealing with? No one is immune from negative health issues but we can swing the potential for good health in our favor by eating foods rich in health building nutrients.

It’s always best to get your nutrients from foods first and supplements secondarily. The body does not recognize isolated or synthetic nutrients the way it does food form nutrients. Therefore the absorption and use of the nutrients in the body can be much less effective than the nutrients you get from real foods. When I say real foods I am talking about unprocessed and unrefined foods. For example; Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, healthy oils, wild caught fish, free range chicken, free range turkey and organic eggs.

When I say nutrients, I am talking about essential nutrients meaning they must come from the foods we eat because our bodies can’t make them and they are important for good health.  Nutrients are the body’s building blocks of health.  A diet that is consistently deficient in these nutrients will over time reap the effects of a poor diet. This could be as simple as fatigue, anxiety, and body pain or more serious health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. All of these are most likely nutrient and lifestyle induced issues.

For the sake of clarity I will list the 6 essential nutrients; they are water, carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals. Within these 6 are subsets of other families. For example, carbohydrates are separated into two groups, starches and fiber.  There are many other families of nutrients in healthy foods however they are not considered essential. You may recognize some of them and you may have even thought they were essential. How about Antioxidants: they promote health by protecting cells and their genetic material from damage from free radical attacks. Phytosterols: a type of plant fat, they help reduce cholesterol helping to prevent or even reverse atherosclerosis and have shown properties that protect against colon cancer.

Essential Nutrients and Their Impact on Our Body

Vitamins and How They Impact Our Health

For more info about the content of nutrients in certain foods I recommend these sources. and

Vitamin Health Impact Partial list Significant Food Sources (partial list)
B1 (thiamin) Supports energy, required to turn food into energy, metabolism and nerve function, reduces stress spinach, green peas, tomato juice, watermelon, sunflower seeds, lean ham, lean pork chops, soy milk
B2 (riboflavin) Supports energy,  required to turn food into energy, metabolism, normal vision and skin health, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, eggs, milk, liver, oysters, clams
B3 (niacin) Supports energy, required to turn food into energy,  metabolism, skin health, nervous system and digestive system spinach, potatoes, tomato juice, lean ground beef, chicken breast, tuna (canned in water), liver, shrimp
Biotin Energy metabolism, fat synthesis, amino acid metabolism, glycogen synthesis widespread in foods
Pantothenic Acid Supports energy metabolism widespread in foods
B6 (pyridoxine) Amino acid and fatty acid metabolism, red blood cell production, heart health bananas, watermelon, tomato juice, broccoli, spinach, acorn squash, potatoes, white rice, chicken breast
Folate Supports DNA synthesis and new cell formation, heart health, supports nerve health tomato juice, green beans, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, okra, black-eyed peas, lentils, navy, pinto and garbanzo beans
B12 Used in new cell synthesis, helps break down fatty acids and amino acids, supports nerve cell maintenance, heart health meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, milk, eggs
C (ascorbic acid) Collagen synthesis, amino acid metabolism, helps iron absorption, immunity, antioxidant, healthy bones and joints spinach, broccoli, red bell peppers, snow peas, tomato juice, kiwi, mango, orange, grapefruit juice, strawberries
A (retinol) Supports vision, skin, bone and tooth growth, immunity and reproduction, mango, broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, tomato juice, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, beef liver
D Promotes bone mineralization, required o build certain hormones self-synthesis via sunlight, fortified milk, egg yolk, liver, fatty fish, cod liver oil
E Antioxidant, regulation of oxidation reactions,  cellular membrane health, supports cell membrane stabilization polyunsaturated plant oils (soybean, corn and canola oils), wheat germ, sunflower seeds, tofu, avocado, sweet potatoes, shrimp, cod
K Synthesis of blood-clotting proteins, regulates blood calcium, bone health, immune function Brussels sprouts, leafy green vegetables, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, liver

Minerals and How They Impact Our Health

Mineral Health Impact Significant Food Sources
Sodium Maintains fluid and electrolyte balance, supports muscle contraction and nerve impulse transmissions Processed foods, salt, soy sauce, bread, milk, meats
Chloride Maintains fluid and electrolyte balance, aids in digestion Processed foods, salt, soy sauce, milk, eggs, meats
Potassium Maintains fluid and electrolyte balance, cell integrity, muscle relaxation and nerve impulse transmission potatoes, acorn squash, artichoke, spinach, broccoli, carrots, green beans, cantaloupe, tomato juice, avocado, grapefruit juice, watermelon, banana, strawberries, cod, milk
Calcium Formation of bones and teeth, supports blood clotting, muscle contraction,  maintains pH balance milk, yogurt, cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, tofu, sardines, green beans, spinach, broccoli, fortified foods
Phosphorus Formation of cells, bones and teeth, maintains pH balance all animal foods (meats, fish, poultry, eggs, milk)
Magnesium Used in over 300 metabolic functions, supports bone mineralization, protein building, muscular contraction, nerve impulse transmission, immune function, helps regulate blood pressure spinach, broccoli, artichokes, green beans, tomato juice, navy beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas,  sunflower seeds, tofu, cashews, halibut
Iron Part of the protein hemoglobin (carries oxygen throughout body’s cells) , necessary for healthy cellular function,  required for Neurotransmitters, dopamine, nor-epinephrine and serotonin artichoke, parsley, spinach, broccoli, green beans, tomato juice, tofu, lentils, beans, whole grains, clams, shrimp, beef liver;

iron in foods sources becomes more bio-available to the body when consumed with Vitamin c rich foods

Zinc A part of many enzymes, involved in production of genetic material and proteins, transports vitamin A, taste perception, wound healing, sperm production and the normal development of the fetus , immune function spinach, broccoli, green peas, green beans, tomato juice, lentils, oysters, shrimp, crab, turkey (dark meat), lean ham, lean ground beef, lean sirloin steak, plain yogurt, Swiss cheese, tofu, ricotta cheese

If taken as a supplement always take cooper with it. Cooper and zinc compete for space on the same enzyme and the intake of too much of one may cause a deficiency of the other.

Selenium Antioxidant.  Works with vitamin E to protect body from oxidation Brazil nuts, crimini mushrooms, barley, oats, seafood, meats and grains
Iodine Component of thyroid hormones that help regulate growth, development and metabolic rate salt, kelp, algae, seafood, bread, milk, cheese
Copper Necessary for the absorption and utilization of iron, supports formation of hemoglobin and several enzymes Calf’s liver, cashews, cooked soybeans, crimini mushrooms, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, coked barley, garbanzo beans, pinto beans

If taken as a supplement always take zinc with it. Cooper and zinc compete for space on the same enzyme and the intake of too much of one may cause a deficiency of the other.

Manganese Facilitates many cell processes widespread in foods
Fluoride Involved in the formation of bones and teeth, helps to make teeth resistant to decay fluoridated drinking water, tea, seafood
Chromium Associated with insulin and is required for the release of energy from glucose vegetable oils, liver, brewer’s yeast, whole grains, cheese, nuts
Molybdenum Facilitates many cell processes legumes, organ meats

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s