Are you getting the vitamins you need from the foods you eat? This is becoming an increasingly important question as cases of malnutrition and nutrient deficiencies rise in developed countries like the US, reports NutraIngredients-USA. It’s an issue of being “over-fed and under-nourished,” as some people in the US are getting their calories from nutrient-poor foods, according to the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN)—a leading trade association representing dietary supplement and functional food manufacturers and ingredient suppliers. Here are a few of the key nutrients the CRN is concerned about:
- Vitamin C. Scurvy, a disease caused by a severe vitamin C deficiency, has died down since the Victorian era. However, NutraIngredients-USA reports that cases are on the rise, particularly in households on the poverty line or who don’t have access to affordable fresh foods. If fresh foods are within reach, citrus fruits, broccoli, red peppers, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, and strawberries are all great sources of vitamin C. If they’re not, a vitamin C supplement may be a good choice.
- Omega-3s, omega-6s, and B12. Diet and lifestyle choices such as veganism or vegetarianism may increase the risk of deficiencies, the CRN warns. While these diets can be healthful, they do require special planning. For example, vegetarians may be at risk for deficiencies in omega-3 and omega-6 fats, although a balanced diet which includes legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds can reduce this risk. Vegans, on the other hand, should pay particular attention to their B12 intake and may need to consult their healthcare practitioner for B12 food sources or supplements.
- Iodine. Deficiencies in iodine, commonly found in iodized salt, may also be a concern. Consumer demand for additive-free salts, like sea salt, has decreased the iodine in our food supply, reports NutraIngredients-USA. Iodine is especially important for the brain development of children, so pregnant women and parents may need to watch their family’s intake. Other than iodized salt, dairy products and seafood are good sources.