Saturday 3 July 2021

6 Nutrients You May Not Be Getting Enough Of

 You and good nutrition go way back. And odds are, you’ve been doing your best to eat a good mix of macros to create the healthiest, most nutritionally beast-mode version of yourself.

But there are certain nutrients that many people just don’t get enough of—and that group very well could include you. A lot of it boils down to eating a varied diet (i.e. not cutting out or limiting food groups) and getting the proper fruit and vegetable intake, says Katherine Brooking, M.S., R.D.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines recommend that adults eat up to two cups of fruit and three cups of vegetables daily. That can be tricky to hit day-in and day-out if you’re not overly conscious of it. “Most Americans aren’t hitting the mark, so they often miss out on important nutrients,” Brooking says.

Read on for the nutrients Brooking says most people fall short on—and how to get more of them in your life.


Calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and, well, it’s pretty important. The mineral plays a role in blood vessel and muscle function. And, as you probably know, it’s vital for strong bones and teeth.

“You might lack calcium if you limit dairy foods—milk, cheese—or foods fortified with calcium like fortified juice and plant milk,” Brooking says.

Hit the nutritional mark

You actually need to take in a decent amount of calcium every day: The NIH recommends that adult men have between 1,000 and 1,300 milligrams of the stuff daily, which is a little more than three servings of yogurt, four cups of skim milk, or four 1.5-ounce servings of cheddar cheese. 

Vitamin C

Most people know vitamin C helps fight off free radicals, the molecules that damage other cells. But the nutrient also helps with wound healing and improves your body’s ability to absorb iron from plant-based foods, Brooking says. You might lack vitamin C if you follow a low-carb diet, or if you're not really a citrus or bell pepper kind of person.

Hit the nutritional mark

The NIH recommends aiming for 90 milligrams of vitamin C in your daily diet. One cup of broccoli florets contains 66 milligrams of vitamin C (and, if you’re counting, 7 grams of carbs), per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). That’s 73 percent of what you need to get in a day.


Fiber, aka roughage, is a substance found in plants that makes you feel full. It has a huge range of benefits including keeping you regular, lowering your cholesterol levels, controlling your blood sugar, and helping you maintain a healthy weight, Brooking says.

Despite all those perks, most people don’t get enough fiber. The common culprit: not eating enough produce, beans, or whole grains (like brown rice and whole-wheat pasta). It’s also a common deficiency for those who follow a low-carb or gluten-free diet, Brooking says. One very obvious sign you’re not having enough fiber, per Brooking: you’re constipated.

Hit the nutritional mark

For men, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends getting 38 grams of fiber a day. To hit your daily mark, avoid restricting carbs for too long, and add more fiber-rich foods into your diet. Pop beans into salads and burritos, make at least half of all your grains whole grains, and snack on fiber-rich fruits, Brooking recommends. An apple, for example, has about 4 grams of fiber, which is 10% of your daily recommended intake. While a cup of blackberries has 8 grams of fiber or 21% of the recommended intake.


Your body needs potassium for almost everything it does. That includes good kidney and heart function, muscle contraction, and nerve transmission. “Getting too little potassium can increase blood pressure, deplete calcium in bones, and increase the risk of kidney stones,” Brooking says. (Kidney stones, in case you’re not familiar with them, are solid, pebble-like pieces of material that can form in one or both of your kidneys and cause a lot of pain.)

So, why are plenty of people falling short on potassium? Again, it goes back to not eating enough fruits and vegetables.

Hit the nutritional mark

Most men need to get anywhere from 3,000 to 3,400 milligrams of potassium a day, according to the NIH. A cup of spinach has 1,410 milligrams of potassium, so simply making a salad or smoothie with the green can get you a third of your way to your daily goal.  

Vitamin A

This fat-soluble vitamin is crucial to support healthy vision and your immune system, and it also helps your heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly. “Vitamin A deficiency can cause dry skin, dry eyes, night blindness, and impaired reproductive and immune function,” Brooking says. Most people don’t have enough of the nutrient because they don’t eat enough eggs, cheese, and certain fruits and vegetables, Brooking adds.

Hit the nutritional mark

Most adult men need 900 micrograms of vitamin A, according to the NIH. You can increase your intake by loading up on a range of foods, including salmon, green leafy vegetables, carrots, squash, cantaloupe, apricots, mangos, and dairy products. Keep in mind that one cup of chopped broccoli has 567 micrograms of vitamin A (63% of your recommended daily allowance)—so pile it on your plate.

Vitamin E

There’s a lot vitamin E can do for you. This fat-soluble nutrient acts as an antioxidant in your body, protecting your cells from damage. It also can help support your immune system and even keep your blood from clotting.

“Vitamin E deficiency can cause nerve and muscle damage that results in loss of feeling in the arms and legs, loss of body movement control, muscle weakness, and vision problems,” Brooking says. It can also weaken your immune system, leaving you open to getting sick. The reason most people don’t get enough vitamin E: The nuts and oils that are good sources of the nutrient aren’t part of their dietary staples.

Hit the nutritional mark

A little vitamin E goes a long way—the NIH recommends that you get just 15 milligrams a day. Vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, green vegetables, and fortified foods are all good sources. A one-ounce serving of raw almonds, for example, has more than seven milligrams of vitamin E.

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