Why You Should Choose More Nutrient-Rich Foods

Choosing nutrient-rich foods over foods that are less healthy is easier when you know why you should be choosing them. In a nutshell, nutrient-rich foods contain many vitamins and minerals that help keep you healthy and help reduce risks for chronic diseases. But different nutrients perform specific tasks that may be of more interest to you, e.g., if you lift weights, you may be more interested in choosing foods that help muscle function and help give you more energy. And there are many food choices you can make to get a balanced variety of vitamins and minerals.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), adult Americans may not be getting enough of the following nutrients: calcium, fiber, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and E. Here are some of the health benefits of these nutrients and great reasons to keep these nutrients in mind while you’re shopping for groceries.

Calcium helps build bones and keep bones healthy—as well as helping blood clot, helping muscles contract, and helping nerves send messages.

Fiber improves blood sugar, acts as a natural laxative, and adds bulk to your diet without adding calories.

Magnesium plays an important role for several processes in the body, including nerve function and regulating muscle, regulating blood sugar levels, regulating blood pressure, and making bone, DNA, and protein.

Potassium is important for proper function of all cells, tissues, and organs in the human body.

Vitamin A helps support vision, plays an important role in the development of bones, aids immune function, and helps minimize infections of the skin, lungs, and mouth.

Vitamin C helps the body make collagen, helps heal wounds, and helps grow and repair tissue.

Vitamin E helps the body make red blood cells, helps the body to use vitamin K, and helps prevent damage to the body’s cells.

And here are some food sources that offer up these nutrients.

Calcium can be found in broccoli, dark leafy greens, sardines, and low-fat and fat-free dairy and dairy substitutes.

Fiber can be found in colorful fruits and vegetables, apples, carrots, raspberries, seeds, and strawberries.

Magnesium can be found in almonds, black beans, peas, and spinach.

Potassium can be found in bananas, cantaloupe, dark greens, fish, nuts, and spinach.

Vitamin A can be found in cantaloupe, carrots, eggs, milk, and sweet potatoes.

Vitamin C can be found in broccoli, kiwi, oranges, red and green peppers, strawberries, and tomatoes.

Vitamin E can be found in avocados, dark leafy green, nuts, seeds, and spinach.

Load up your grocery cart with a variety of the above foods for a good balance of good nutrients.