In order to maintain the proper functioning of your body and decrease the risk of serious diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, you must pay attention to your diet and get the daily recommended dose of essential nutrients. Here are the nutrients you need to stay healthy and the main sources where you can find them.

Stressful deadlines, hectic schedules, an unbalanced diet, and a chaotic lifestyle represent main causes that can strongly influence people's health and cause chronic diseases. The lack of vitamins and minerals stops the body from functioning properly. Therefore, it is important to know what are the foods that deliver the necessary amounts of nutrients you need to stay healthy. Since food alone cannot always provide all the daily recommended intake, dietary supplements are sometimes needed. Eat smart, invest in nourishing sources and you'll notice the difference!

Iron

Iron plays an essential role as it helps carrying oxygen to blood cells throughout the human body. Iron deficiency leads to severe fatigue, weakness and anemia. Main sources of iron are both vegetable and animal foods. Still, experts say that vegetable iron is not so well absorbed, while the one coming from animal sources, such as poultry or beef, is directly absorbed. You can also find iron in dry fruits, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, legumes, lentils, sprouts, and broccoli. The recommended amount of iron is of 18 mg daily.


Fiber

Dietary fiber, found in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, helps you keep a healthy digestive system, preventing constipation, and decreases the risk of certain diseases, protecting against heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. Moreover, fiber plays a major part in your weight loss plan as it has almost no calories and controls appetite. The daily recommended dose of fiber is 25 grams.

Nutrients You Need to Stay Healthy

Magnesium

You need 320 mg of magnesium a day. Why? Because magnesium is a vital mineral that has multiple helpful benefits for your health. First of all, it transmits nerve impulses, supports muscle function, and provides energy. The right amount of magnesium also prevents osteoporosis, hypertension, heart diseases, insomnia, constipation, and depression. You can acquire magnesium from nuts, seeds, whole grains, green leafy veggies, wheat germ, and fish.


Potassium

Heart palpitations, fatigue, muscle weakness, anemia, and high blood pressure are some of the symptoms that might indicate a potassium deficiency. The recommended intake of potassium is 3,500 mg daily. Potassium helps you maintain a normal blood pressure, reduces the risk of stroke, anxiety, heart disease, kidney disorders, and keeps brain and nerves in good condition. Main sources of potassium are citrus fruits, bananas, vegetables, potatoes, white beans, and nuts.


Calcium

In order to stay healthy, you need about 1,000 mg of calcium daily. Calcium helps us maintain strong bones, gums and teeth, protects cardiac muscles, prevents obesity, kidney stones and colon cancer, controls blood pressure. Get your required amount of calcium from milk, cheese, yogurt, leafy greens such spinach, broccoli, orange juice, cereals, nuts, seeds, pulses, soy, oysters, peas. Also, remember that you need vitamin D for your heart to make good use of calcium.

Nutrients You Need to Stay Healthy

Vitamin C

Vitamin C also known as ascorbic acid is a powerful antioxidant that has numerous benefits such as improving the immune system and therefore controlling infections, both viral and bacterial, keeping healthy bones, blood vessels, teeth and gums. It can be found in citrus fruits, kiwi, berries, tomatoes, green and red peppers, potatoes, spinach, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. You need 75 mg of vitamin C daily.


Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that maintains heart function, reducing the risk of strokes, boosts immunity, and even protects against some forms of cancer and Alzheimer's disease. You can get the 15 mg daily recommended amount of vitamin E from nuts, seeds, whole grains, vegetable oils, almonds, peanut butter, avocados, spinach, and other green leafy vegetables.


Vitamin A

Vitamin A or retinol is very important for a healthy body as it boosts immunity creating resistance to infection and keeps eyes and skin moist. Besides, it helps maintain a good vision and sustains red blood cell production, strengthens bones and teeth, prevents dryness of the skin, and lowers cholesterol. Moreover, since vitamin A is an antioxidant, it also contributes to the prevention of certain types of cancer. The daily recommended intake of potassium is 3,000 international units (IU) for men and 2,310 IU for women. Food sources of retinol are animal products (liver, kidney, eggs, oily fish, dairy), but also green and orange vegetables, carrots, watercress, oranges, and other fruits.



Photos: Thinkstock Photos