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The 5 Nutrients You Need for Energy

Feeling tired? Eat your energy food! These five key nutrients beat fatigue, improve your workout, and fight disease.

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Iron-Fortified Cereal
Chris Gallo
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Joseph De Leo
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Vitamin E

Unless you've been living in a cave for 20 years, you know you need calcium, folate, and vitamin C. But there are a few nutrients you're not so savvy about, according to recent stats, especially if you're dieting. Here, which ones you're most likely lacking, and what to do about it.

Fact: Twenty-eight percent of you don't get enough vitamin E.

Why You Need 15 milligrams a Day: It protects against heart disease and boosts immunity.

Why You're Missing Out: Your diet is too low in fat. Vitamin E is usually found in naturally fat-rich plant foods like oils, nuts, and seeds.

How to Get It: Stock up on a well-fortified cereal like Total cereal; a cup supplies 15mg.

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Fact: Twelve percent of you are iron-deficient.

Why You Need 18mg a Day: It helps deliver oxygen throughout your body.

Why You're Missing Out: You started eating more "meatless meals." "Only heme iron -- found in animal foods like beef, lamb, or poultry -- is directly absorbed into the body," says Stella Lucia Volpe, PhD, RD, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. "Vegetable iron isn't absorbed as efficiently."

How to Get It: Try to include a few servings of lean animal protein per day. The redder a meat, the more heme iron it probably contains; beef is a better source than chicken or pork. Also, 10 steamed clams supply an incredible 26.6mg of iron for only 141 calories.

Try these healthy recipes:

Vegetable Beef Barley Soup

Portobello-Smothered Beef Medallions

Chipotle Beef Wrap

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Fact: Most of you consume less than half the RDA of potassium.

Why You Need 4,700mg a Day: It aids in muscle contraction and regulates fluid and mineral balance when you sweat.

Why You're Missing Out: You're still not eating enough fruits and vegetables.

How to Get It: Top potassium picks include a baked potato (926mg), white beans (502mg per half cup), and tomato sauce (453mg per half cup).

Try these healthy recipes:

Twice-Baked Potato with Melted Cheese and Broccoli

Chunky White Bean Soup

Parmesan Pasta with Asparagus & White Beans

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Fact: Less than half of you are getting enough zinc.

Why You Need 8mg a Day: It helps regulate metabolism.

Why You're Missing Out: You haven't bought wheat germ since the '70s (a half cup provides all you need).

How to Get It: Use your bean! A 239-calorie cup of vegetarian baked beans supplies nearly half a day's supply (4.2mg).

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Fact: Most of you get only 72 percent of the magnesium you need each day.

Why You Need 320mg a Day: It's essential for energy production and muscle function.

Why You're Missing Out: You don't eat enough seafood.

How to Get It: Go fishing! Just three ounces of halibut supplies 91mg. No seafood lover in you? Choose a half cup of All-Bran cereal (110mg), cooked spinach (78mg), or black beans (60mg).

Try these healthy recipes:

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2006.

Black Bean Couscous

Spinach Salad with Strawberries

Tofu with Black Beans & Garlic

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What do you think? Review this slideshow!

marie2019 wrote:

Very informative article, proper nutrition is so important for our bodies. Still, did you know that vitamins and nutrients are also important for our skin? Here is an excellent resource that talks about this topic.

7/23/2013 10:53:26 AM Report Abuse
hillsidewarner wrote:

Thank you so much for this valuable information. I'm taking control of my health and learning to live and eat much healthier.

5/15/2013 06:58:23 PM Report Abuse
shinellehairsal wrote:

Excellent! I love all this free, exellent, nutritious information.Thank you so much. I do a lot of running and will take all the advice I get given!

6/7/2012 03:24:29 PM Report Abuse
observer wrote:

Unless you've been living in a cave for 20 years, you know that any article mentioning a specific commercial product or brand name is a covert advertising. The article like this could destroy the reputation of Fitness Magazine as a credible source of serious, reliable health info. The writer would do better to omit any commercial product names and provide a proper list of natural foods, rich in these specific nutrients.

12/25/2010 11:49:23 AM Report Abuse
onemommyslove1 wrote:

Another great cereal that we LOVE is Kamut Flakes that is also full of nutrients and it's organic! It's so heathy for my kids and I am glad they eat it. Breakfast is such an important meal to give our kids a head start on their day so we are always trying to buy healthy stuff!

8/17/2010 12:52:29 PM Report Abuse
ramirez_c2000 wrote:


5/6/2010 04:44:01 PM Report Abuse
Anime.Gallery wrote:


12/11/2009 03:26:15 AM Report Abuse

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Fitness magazine, March 2006
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