Surprising ways to get the essential vitamins and nutrients you need in your diet
Vitamin C: Instead of oranges, try strawberries, red peppers, or broccoli.
When you think of vitamin C, do you think of oranges or other citrus fruits? Well, it turns out these fruits may be hogging all of the glory. Strawberries, bell peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli have plenty of C too.
Calcium: Instead of milk or cheese, try leafy greens.
When we were kids, many of us were told to drink lots of milk so we'd get enough calcium to grow strong bones. But dairy products certainly aren't the only way to get enough of this bone-building nutrient. Leafy greens like spinach and kale, as well as edamame, contain plenty of calcium too.
Potassium: Bananas aren't the only source! So are beans, potatoes, leafy greens.
Potassium is a vital mineral for keeping our heart, kidneys, and other organs running smoothly. Without it, we're at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and stroke, among other problems. You may know that you can get potassium from bananas, but you can also get plenty of it from beans, leafy greens, and potatoes.
Omega-3s: Not just in fish. Try flaxseed or vegetable oil, or walnuts too
Omega-3 fatty acids are an important part of maintaining a normal metabolism, and while the findings are mixed, some evidence suggests omega-3s may reduce the risk of heart disease and death.
Zinc: Instead of red meat, go for some oysters or crab meat.
Zinc is an essential mineral that our body needs for a healthy immune system, wound healing, making DNA and proteins, and cell division. You can get zinc from many different foods. Many Americans get it from red meat and poultry or fortified breakfast cereals, but oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food.
Vitamin B12: Instead of steak, why not be brave and try some liver or clams?
Another essential vitamin is B12, which is vital for red blood cell formation, brain function, and making DNA. The Food and Nutrition Board recommends that adults get 2.4 micrograms of B12 a day, and more for pregnant or lactating women. B12 is found in meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy products, or you can get it in supplement form. Foods like clams and liver (like the foie gras shown here) contain the highest levels of this nutrient.
Vitamin A: Not a carrot fan? No worries. Substitute sweet potato, liver, or cantaloupe.
Vitamin A helps keep your skin, teeth, and other tissues healthy, and is also needed for good eyesight. It comes in two forms: preformed vitamin A and pro-vitamin A (whose most common form is beta carotene). You may know that carrots contain a lot of this vitamin, but you can also get it from other orange and yellow fruits and veggies, liver, spinach, and fortified breakfast cereals.
Protein: Instead of meat, munch on some chickpeas, lentils, or peas.
When you think about protein, you probably think of foods like meat and eggs. But as vegetarians know, beans and peas pack plenty of protein too.
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