Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals found in food that nourish your body and help keep you healthy.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), adult Americans do not typically get enough of the following nutrients:
Try to incorporate more of these nutrients in your daily diet. Keep in mind that it's best to consume a variety of foods, instead of just taking a multivitamin, to make sure that your body is able to absorb the micronutrients properly. If you are unable to get all the nutrients you need from food alone, ask your doctor if dietary supplements are right for you.
Your body needs calcium to build strong bones and teeth in childhood and adolescence. As an adult, you need calcium to maintain bone mass. According to the USDA, the average American adult (eating roughly 2,000 calories per day) should get 1,136 milligrams of calcium each day.
The following foods are good sources of calcium:
A diet rich in potassium helps your body maintain a healthy blood pressure. The USDA recommends that the average American consume 4,044 milligrams of potassium each day.
The following foods are good sources of potassium:
Magnesium is a nutrient that helps your body produce energy, and helps your muscles, arteries and heart work properly. According to the USDA, the average American adult should get 380 milligrams of magnesium each day.
The following foods are good sources of magnesium:
Vitamin A is associated with vision development and cellular growth and maintenance.
The following foods are good sources of vitamin A:
Vitamin C helps the body form collagen (which is the main protein used as connective tissue in the body) in blood vessels, bones, cartilage and muscle.
The following foods are good sources of vitamin C:
Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which is a nutrient that helps fight damage to the cells in the body.
The following foods are good sources of vitamin E:
Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005. 6th Edition by U.S. Government Printing Office Washington, DC (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture January 01, 2005, http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/)
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff