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Weight Loss Programs

Updated on August 23, 2016

There is so much to learn about food and nutrition. You may think you are doing right by your diet only to find that it is actually detrimental to your overall health.

Getting the necessary nutrients from your diet has become increasingly difficult. We can turn to nutritional supplements, but research has consistently shown that fresh food is usually our best source of valuable nutrients.

Things you should know to maximize the availability of needed nutrients in your diet:

Iron: This mineral is critical for brain function and also helps your immune system function by increasing your resistance to stress and disease. Iron can help you avoid symptoms of fatigue, weakness, irrititability.

Although some tout the benefits of being a vegetarian or a plant based diet, plant foods are rarely a good source of iron. Even though spinach is a good source of magnesium, vitamin K and other nutrients, the fiber and plant chemicals in the spinach leaf bind to iron, inhibiting the mineral's availability.

Look for dark meat products, like beef or dark turkey meat. They are the best sources of iron.

Zinc: This mineral is essential for a healthy immune system. Red meat, nuts (almonds and walnuts) and poultry are good sources of zinc.

Magnesium: This vital mineral is necessary for heart health, blood sugar control and strong bones. Up to 75% of Americans do not get enough magnesium in their diet.

Calcium: Sardines are an excellent source of calcium as well as dairy foods. Skim milk is not recommended because vitamin D is diminished when you remove all the fat from milk. Leafy green vegetables are advocated for calcium, but these foods do not provide ample amounts of this mineral that the body needs.

Selenium: This cancer-fighting mineral is best obtained from whole-grain wheat bread and cereals.

Chromium: This mineral also helps control blood sugar levels but is poorly absorbed. It is suggested that everyone take a 200-mcg chromium supplement daily for general health. If you are diabetic, your doctor may suggest that you take even more.

Cartenoids: These are a group of 600 nutrients which are found in vegetables and fruits. One of them is lycopene which is found in tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit. This nutrient is helpful to prevent prostate cancer. Lutein and zeaxanthin are cartenoids which are found in dark green, leafy vegetables and corn, and may help fight against vision loss in people over age 65 from macular degeneration. Carotenoids are fat-soluable nutients which require some dietary fat for optimal absorption. It is best to take them with olive oil or low-fat salad dressings. Cooking vegetables breaks the cell walls increasing the bioavailability of many nutrients, so steaming or lightly simmering vegetables is recommended. Adding tomatoes to sauces helps to maximize the amount of cancer-fighting lycopene.

Protein: Although this protein is found in lunch meats, such as ham and bologna, these foods usually contain high levels of sodium and harmful fillers with preservatives known as nitrates. Poultry, fish, eggs and meat are the best sources of protein. Beef should be prepared medium rare for the maximum bioavailability of nutrients. Whey protein powder can be easily added to a smoothie and contains protein. If there is an allergy to whey, soy powder can be used.

In conclusion, if you are considering a diet, make sure that you get enough nutrients from the foods that you do eat, otherwise your health with diminish. Certain foods have nutrients and minerals that help the body fight disease and help it build itself, and the more you know about them, the better off you will be.


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  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Balance, moderation and portion control. Wish it was as easy as it sounds.

  • LianaK profile image

    LianaK 7 years ago

    Lot of great information. Balance, . . .it's all about the balance. :) Great hub!

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Yes, it is important to know your own body and what it needs. We are all different and seems there are conflicts in the information available. I suggest having your yearly physical exam with your doctor including your blood tests so you know how you are doing.

  • Micky Dee profile image

    Micky Dee 7 years ago

    Actually I think excessive calcium (?) maybe is linked to breast cancer? How does one get the proper amount if that's true. I've not been in contact with my health guru. Thanks for being here Elayne.

  • Katrina Ariel profile image

    Katrina Ariel 7 years ago from The Highlands of British Columbia, Canada

    Interesting hub, Elayne. Good job. I do have to say that there is a lot of conflicting info out there on nutrition. For instance, myself and my boyfriend are vegan, and he actually has TOO MUCH iron in his body - he had a blood test done to find out. Who'd have predicted that? And he hasn't eaten meat in many, many years. So yes, it's always important to get enough nutrients from fresh food and supplements as you've pointed out here so well, yet at the same time it's important to know your own body and what nutrients you personally need.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    I guess sardines is the best source of calcium. Yum! Thanks for your comments Micky Dee.

  • Micky Dee profile image

    Micky Dee 7 years ago

    I believe that the calcium from dairy isn't utilized as much as greens though- no? Dairy is linked to cancer? No? I have some women telling me some things from time to time and I haven't done great research. Cows are generally treated pretty badly though. Thanks. Great hub!

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    You bet Sandyspider. Hope they are useful to you.

  • Sandyspider profile image

    Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

    Thanks for the tips.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks entertianmentplus and pamela99 for your comments. I try to do quite a bit of research before publishing my hubs. I enjoy learning new things.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Good information about the importance of minerals in food. God hub.

  • entertianmentplus profile image

    entertianmentplus 7 years ago from United States

    Great info well writing hub.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks so much for all the great comments. I learned a lot doing this hub also. That is the great thing about Hubpages and their current contest.

  • alexandriaruthk profile image

    alexandriaruthk 7 years ago from US

    I never know that dark meat are sources of IRON, thank you for very usefuil information. Most of all I want to thank you for congratulating me on my win, YAY, aloha as well,

  • profile image

    Linda Wilhite 7 years ago

    Thanks for the excellent information. I am amazed, daily, at the number of people who don't care about what they put into their bodies. Is it any wonder that 1 of 3 children born after 2000 will get Type II diabetes?

  • breakfastpop profile image

    breakfastpop 7 years ago

    Smart hub chock full of delicious information.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for your informative hub.