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Eat Well - Balanced Diet

Balanced Diet

To feel your best and shore up your health as your age, you need to nourish your body with all the essential nutrients. Find out whether you're taking in enough of four essential nutrients.

Crucial for heart, kidney, muscle, nerve function; important in controlling blood pressure; works with sodium to maintain the body¡¯s water balance.

Deficiency Signs: Taking diuretics and drinking too much alcohol may sap your body of potassium, while skimping on mineral rich fruits and vegetables can prevent you from getting enough potassium in the first place. If your potassium levels are less than optimal, you might experience symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness, muscle cramps, and constipation.

Best Sources: bananas, baked potato with skin, prunes, acorn squash, spinach, and almonds.

Recommendations: Take supplements only when your blood levels are extremely low and your doctor specifically recommends it.

Beyond building healthy bones, calcium plays a major part in ensuring that your blood vessels, muscles, and nerves function properly.

Deficiency Signs: Unless you have hypocalcemia (a potentially fatal disorder marked by depleted blood calcium), there are no symptoms to signal when you're low on calcium. An increased risk of osteoporosis is the greatest health threat linked to getting too little calcium.

Best Sources: low-fat dairy products such as yogurt or cottage cheese, tofu, orange juice, dark-green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and pinto beans.

Recommendations: If you don't get enough calcium from food, consider supplementing with calcium citrate to reach your daily requirement.

Long known to aid the body in using calcium efficiently, vitamin D is vital for a strong skeleton.

Deficiency Signs: In severe cases, D deficiency can cause osteomalacia (soft ending of the bones) and rickets.

Best Sources: Generated by your body when sunlight strikes your skin, vitamin D is found naturally in very few foods such as wild-caught salmon and tuna.

Recommendations: Because food sources are so limited, and because sun exposure isn't the best option for everyone, it's a good idea to take vitamin D supplements.

Not only risky for pregnant women, low folate levels may weaken your heart health.

Deficiency Signs: Signs of folate shortage include anemia and fatigue.

Best Sources: Spinach, asparagus, grains.

Recommendations: Since pregnancy can diminish your body's supply of folate, anyone planning to become pregnant need to take a prenatal vitamin.

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Eating Well
Find out whether you're taking in enough of following tonic foods.

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Health Tips
Quick tips for living a balanced, healthy life.

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