Are You Missing Micronutrients?
Before you reach for the supplement bottle, make sure you have your bases covered with these powerhouse foods to cover your most important nutrients. They contain significant amounts of the most common nutrients that people are deficient in as well as a spectrum of other nutrients such as potassium, sulphur, and fiber. There are many other foods that also contain these nutrients, but the ones listed below are the big players. The amount listed in milligrams (mg) after each nutrient is the government RDA or “recommended daily allowance” – this is the bare minimum your body requires. It does not take into account your individual needs (see last section). Choose organic foods if possible for maximum nutrition and minimum exposure to pesticides.
Try to eat at least one or two foods from each group on a daily basis:
Polyphenols (No RDA established. Polyphenols are plant compounds that have powerful antioxidant properties that promote health. While coffee is high in polyphenols it also contains high amounts of caffeine which stresses the adrenals and blood sugar balance, and can irritate the lining of the stomach.)
- teas: rooibos, organic green, spearmint, peppermint
- berries: blueberries, black berries, raspberries, cherries
- plums, black current, apples
- flax seed, hazelnuts, pecans
- black beans, black olives
- Herbs – cloves, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano
Vitamin C (women 75mg, men 90mg)
- broccoli ½ cup steamed max 5min. (54mg)
- kale 1 cup steamed max 5 min. (53mg)
- red cabbage 1 cup raw (42mg)
- cauliflower ½ cup cooked (27mg)
- brussel sprouts 4 sprouts steamed (38-52mg)
- bok choy ½ cup (23mg)
- berries (raspberry, blueberry, blackberry) ½ cup (14-17mg)
Vitamin E (15mg)
- almonds 2 TBSP (6mg)
- sunflower seeds 1 TBSP (4mg)
- hazelnuts 2TBSP (3mg)
- avocado ½ (2mg)
- spinach or swiss chard steamed ½ cup steamed (2mg)
- butternut squash 1 cup cubes (2.6mg)
- broccoli 1 cup cooked, chopped (2mg)
Magnesium (310mg women, 400mg men)
- pumpkin seeds ¼ cup (190mg)
- sunflower seeds 2 TBSP (76mg)
- swiss chard ½ cup cooked (80mg)
- spinach ½ cup cooked (83mg)
- quinoa ¾ cup cooked (118mg)
- black beans ½ cup cooked (60mg), lentils 1 cup cooked (71mg)
- oats ¼ cup dry (69mg)
- 1 or 2 brazil nuts per day (average 50mcg per nut). Don’t exceed three per day. Not required for those taking a multi-vitamin.
- Smaller quantities are found in seafood, yogurt and other dairy products, eggs
- Iodized table salt
- If you use sea salt or Himalayan salt (which is low in iodine unless it is iodized) and seaweed is not a regular part of your diet you may benefit by including an iodine supplement or a high quality multi-vitamin/mineral supplement that contains 150mcg of iodine.
- If you have a thyroid condition, consult a health care professional before taking iodine.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids as DHA/EPA (300mg-450mg/d)
- wild Pacific or Alaskan salmon, anchovies, sardines, mackerel, herring
- These low mercury fish are the best sources of DHA and EPA essential fatty acids. They should be consumed at least twice per week.
- For those who don’t eat fish regularly a high quality fish oil supplement may be beneficial. While plant based omega 3 fats such as walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds are good to include in your regular diet, the plant fatty acid (ALA) doesn’t convert to DHA/EPA efficiently in the body. This is even more so for those who have a common genetic variant that further reduces this ability.
- Very little vitamin D can be obtained from the diet. In the Northern Hemisphere, your body produces vitamin D naturally from exposure to the sun in the months May through to the end of September.
- Aim for at least 15 minutes of daily mid-day sun exposure on as much skin as possible, without the use of sunscreen, and without burning to obtain optimal vitamin D levels. The darker your skin type is, the longer it takes to produce vitamin D— up to 2 hours for very dark skin types.
- It can be difficult for those who work indoors and live in the Northern Hemisphere year round to obtain this level of sun exposure. Taking a vitamin D3 supplement is likely required.
- Vitamin D works in tandem with other important nutrients such as vitamin K2, vitamin A, calcium, and magnesium. It’s important to have adequate levels of these nutrients in your diet which may also need to be supported through supplementation.
- For further information on vitamin D, please refer to the free eBook “Healer at Home – Natural First Aid for Colds and Flus” available for download here.
- red meat, liver, egg yolks, oysters, clams, scallops, mussels, sardines
- chickpeas and other beans, lentils, quinoa
- spinach, swiss chard, beet greens
- almonds, cashews, sesame seeds, blackstrap molasses
- iron is absorbed best from animal sources (heme-iron). Plant sources (non-heme iron) are best absorbed when taken with a source of vitamin C (eg: lemon juice squeezed over your greens).
- coffee, black tea and green tea impair iron absorption and should be limited in those with iron deficiency anemia.
- 1 in 5 women of child-bearing age are iron deficient anemic. Vegetarian women may also be at especially high risk for iron deficiency.
- red meat, sardines, salmon and other fish
- yogurt, milk, eggs, cheese
- vitamin B12 is only found in animal foods. Those who eat a vegetarian diet should be supplementing with vitamin B12 on a regular basis.
- with age vitamin B12 absorption declines. It is recommended that anyone over age 50 periodically supplement with vitamin B12 either singularly or in a multi-vitamin.
- collard greens, spinach, bok choy, kale and other green leafy vegetables, broccoli, beans
- sesame seeds, almonds
- canned salmon with bones (where the bones are eaten)
- blackstrap molasses
- fortified almond milk
- dairy products: yogurt, kefir and cheese (best used in small amounts). The best cheeses may be Edam, Gouda and Brie as they contain significant amounts of vitamin K2 which is important for bone health and is lacking in most diets.
- oysters, beef, lamb and turkey, mussels, shrimp, scallops
- pumpkin seeds, almonds, quinoa
- lentils, garbanzo beans, peas
- vegetarian diets tend to be low in zinc
Your Individual Needs (best assessed by a health care professional)
- Environmental pollution exposure (now affecting everyone)
- Food Sensitivities (dairy, etc.)
- Medication deficiencies
- Preconception, Pregnancy and Nursing
- Specific age groups: infants and young children, teenagers, middle age, elderly
- Your specific health concerns, including findings from lab tests (ie: CBC, iron, fatty acid, vit D, B12, etc)