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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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Chris Gallo
Lean Beef
Blaine Moats
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!

anonymous wrote:

don't forget older people can't absorb iron as easily as younger people check with Dr or dietitian before overdosing

4/5/2012 06:46:44 AM Report Abuse
anonymous wrote:

Hemp seed is a non-meat, great source of protein that includes the complete amino acid chain your body needs. You need vitamin c to help absorb iron - a glass of fruit juice or lemon juice with spinach for example.

4/4/2012 02:39:17 PM Report Abuse
asdfqwer1 wrote:

chill out. everything else on this slideshow isn't meat

8/30/2010 04:54:46 PM Report Abuse
alexkoy wrote:

i am o professional nutritionist for 18 years, and i also work aw fitness trainer, which means i workout pore than 1 hour a day..i am a vegetarian for 8 years and i am perfectly fine with no meat and fish...meat apart from very specific situation iabsolutely useless..i became avegetarina because i simply adore animals...a well balanced diet with plenty of fruits,vegetables,whole wheat cereals, lentils,beans,soya (bio) is enough to keep us healthy

8/23/2010 12:18:45 AM Report Abuse
jacquelinemb wrote:

So what about us vegetarians? It seems that we get a paragraph or two in all the "diet" books. Once again we're left out. Thanks for the info on spinach! I think I'd read about that some time ago, but had forgotten.

8/12/2010 09:38:56 PM Report Abuse
strawberry_diane wrote:

By the way, I wanted to clarify a common misconception - spinach IS NOT a good source of iron. It does have iron, but not in a very significant amount, like say compared to broccoli. Way back a scientist put a decimal in the wrong place, making people think there was 10 times more iron in spinach than there actually is, and the rumour just got promoted!

4/28/2010 11:45:59 AM Report Abuse
strawberry_diane wrote:

I agree - I'm vegetarian and have no need for iron from meat (and all the saturated fat that comes with it!). Broccoli is an excellent source of iron! and beans as well. sad that people only think of meat...

4/28/2010 11:44:16 AM Report Abuse
ccravens3988046 wrote:

Non meat sources are harder forthe body to absorb. I spent 5 years as a vegetarian and now eat meat in small amounts. Regardless of my diet, I still struggle with anemia. Turns out, this is pretty common in female athletes. I take a daily iron supplement in addition to my multivitamin. Now the dizzy spells and light headedness are a thing of the past.

12/16/2009 10:47:21 AM Report Abuse
hk1486199 wrote:

This is just pushing meat! I'm a vegan since years with a better than perfect blood count. I get all my nutrients from plants. You do not need animal food to live a healthy life. Your body takes everything it needs from a healthy plant-based diet. (Of course, not from doughnuts, coke, and the like!)

12/16/2009 10:41:11 AM Report Abuse
jrdr4 wrote:

It is too bad that this does not mention that great non-meat sources of iron, which are actually better for you that beef - like spinach, beans and some seeds.

11/19/2009 06:39:29 PM Report Abuse

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Fitness magazine, March 2006
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