Nutrients And Their Under-Consumption In America
Under-Consumed Nutrients in America-
In this hustle and bustle world we live in, we tend to be more concerned with the convenience and speed with which we eat than the overall health and nutritional content our meals provide. As a result, a number of diseases are prevalent in the Americas such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer which are disproportionately higher than levels found in other countries around the globe. The need for supplementation is real and quantifiable and our overall health and disease fighting ability may depend on them without significant changes to our eating habits.
In the United States, although the majority consume sufficient amounts of most nutrients, some nutrients are consumed in amounts below (and in some cases, well below) the Estimated Average Requirement or Adequate Intake levels. These include potassium, dietary fiber, choline, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A, D, E, and C. Iron also is under-consumed by adolescent girls and women ages 19 to 50 years.
Low intakes for most of these nutrients occur within the context of unhealthy overall eating patterns, due to low intakes of the food groups—vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and dairy—that contain these nutrients. Shifts to increase the intake of these food groups can move intakes of these under-consumed nutrients closer to recommendations.
Of the under-consumed nutrients, calcium, potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D are considered nutrients of public health concern because low intakes are associated with health concerns. For young children, women capable of becoming pregnant, and women who are pregnant, low intake of iron is also of public health concern.
Micro-nutrient inadequacies could elicit symptoms of general fatigue, reduced ability to fight infections, or impaired cognitive function (i.e., attention [concentration and focus], memory, and mood). Deficiencies may also have important implications for long-term health and increase one’s risk for chronic diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and age-related eye disease.
What can be done?
The likelihood of most Americans making major changes in their eating habits is pretty slim. Dietary supplements can be used in conjunction with a more balanced diet to help achieve the Estimated Average Requirement. Keep in mind, the best way to achieve the estimated required nutrients is through a well balanced, organic diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, dairy, proteins and whole grains.
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