Our Missing Nutrients

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“Empty calories.” “Overweight and undernourished.” These are the phrases used to describe millions of Americans.

Waddling though our now half-empty shopping malls, chowing down on a Mrs. Field’s cookie for the energy to get us to that distant food court, we wonder, “What, in this Land of Plenty, could we be missing, nutrition-wise?”

In a recent study monitoring the eating habits of 25,000 US citizens, the American College of Nutrition (ACN) reported that half the population doesn’t get enough calcium, magnesium, and potassium to meet current government recommendations. That means we’re low on three of our four most important body minerals. No problem with the fourth, sodium. On that one, we overload.

The nutritional deficiencies revealed by the ACN were dramatic. Across all age groups, 68% of people weren’t getting enough calcium, 74% not enough potassium, and 48% not enough magnesium, with deficiencies more pronounced in women than in men.

A single word will describe for you where our bodies use the three vital nutrients–everywhere. Every single one of your trillion or so cells needs these minerals in order to function smoothly. They’re required for every chemical reaction and muscle movement, for your immune system, bones, blood pressure, and heart rhythm. With deficiencies like these, it’s amazing we’re not falling apart. Or maybe we are.

Please don’t go racing off to the vitamin store. The very best source of these nutrients is food, not more bottles of nutritional supplements. If you’re not lactose intolerant, nonfat milk is an excellent source of all three. Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, greens like spinach and chard are loaded with potassium and magnesium (and they have a fair amount of calcium too).

You can also look for a book I contributed to some years ago called The Healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs. It’s filled with color photos showing foods and their nutrients, including milk (calcium), almonds (magnesium), and bananas (potassium). If choosing the right foods sounds too complicated, you can get a daily mineral supplement containing these big three by clicking here.

But remember: Food outranks pills every time.

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