Did you know that 90% of Americans are deficient in vitamins and minerals?

It’s not as simple as eating more fruits and vegetables. Even if you stick to a healthy diet, you’re unlikely to absorb all the nutrients you need from the food you eat.

Researchers have found that most people are deficient in:

  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Fiber
  • Vitamins A, C, & E

The question is, what can you do about vitamin and mineral deficiency? What dietary or lifestyle changes can you make to ensure you get the daily essential nutrients you need?

Read on as we answer these important questions.

1. Know Which Nutrients You Need

First of all, what is an essential nutrient? They’re the vitamins and minerals your body needs to thrive.

Essential vitamins for human health include Vitamins A, C, D, E, and K. The B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pyroxidine, pantothenic acid, biotin, folate, and cobalamin) are equally important to your health.

Minerals that are essential for your body include calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium.

How do you know if you’re deficient in certain vitamins or minerals? Symptoms may appear when you’re lacking a particular nutrient, but your best bet is to get tested by your doctor.

Once you know which deficiencies you have, you can tailor your diet accordingly.

2. Eat Locally Grown Produce

Whenever possible, it’s best to eat produce that was grown in your local area.

The longer those items sit on a shelf in the supermarket, the more nutrients they lose. Items like spinach can lose up to 90% of its Vitamin C within 24 hours of being picked.

The solution? Shop at farmer’s markets or anywhere in your community where you can buy freshly grown (and picked) produce. Ideally, you want to consume your fruits and veggies within 72 hours of harvest.

Another health benefit of eating locally is you get the nutrients your body needs for the current season. The foods that grow in your area each season likely contain the nutrients you need to keep you healthy in your local environment.

3. Focus on Proper Food Prep

What if you live somewhere with cold winters or limited options for local produce? The next best thing you can (whether you buy locally or not) is to prepare your food correctly.

The way you prep your produce can make those vitamins and minerals more available for your body to absorb. Most fruits and vegetables should be cut up before you eat it, as this helps to break down the rigid walls of the plant cells.

Onions and garlic, on the other hand, will benefit you most if you chop or crush them. Doing so creates a nutrient called allicin that can help to prevent disease.

What about beans and grains? Your best bet is to soak them before you cook them. This reduces the phytic acid that inhibits the absorption of their nutrients.

4. Store Your Food Correctly

You should store your produce somewhere easily accessible—that way, you’ll remember to eat it!

To slow down nutrient loss from the environment, store all your vegetables (except the root veggies) in the fridge. Fruits (except berries) are best stored at room temperature and away from direct sunlight.

If you cut up fruits or veggies, store them in an airtight container until you’re ready to eat them. And the best way to maintain the nutrients in your herbs is to freeze them in an ice cube tray with a bit of water.

5. Cooked vs. Raw Foods

To get your daily essential nutrients, you should become familiar with which foods are more nutritious when they’re raw (or when they’re cooked).

As an example, you’re likely to get more nutrients out of cooked tomatoes and carrots. Cooked tomatoes are higher in cancer-fighting lycopene, while cooked carrots make beta-carotene more available for your body to absorb.

Other foods with water-soluble vitamins are more nutritious when eaten raw. These include spinach, kale, peppers, and avocado.

Also, don’t overlook the nutritional value of animal sources. Heme iron in animal protein is much easier for your body to absorb than plant-based non-heme iron. Calcium and Vitamin A are also best consumed from an animal source.

6. Supplement Where Necessary

No matter how carefully you monitor your diet, you can’t control how much of a certain nutrient your body will absorb. You may also be limited in your ability to buy freshly grown, locally sourced products.

The next best thing you can do is make up for those deficiencies with vitamin and mineral supplements. You can buy pills, powders, medical patches from PatchMD, and a host of other supplements to add to your diet.

Frozen fruits and vegetables are also a good alternative when the fresh version isn’t available. Because it’s blanched and frozen as soon as it’s harvested, frozen produce retains a lot of its nutritional merit.

7. A Little Is Better Than None

If you’re struggling to find a balanced diet, just focus on doing the best that you can.

Eating a bag of frozen Brussel sprouts is better than eating no Brussel sprouts at all. Eating a prepared salad is a healthier option than a slice of pizza. And taking a multivitamin is better than living on a diet of junk food.

Keep it simple, and you’ll preserve not only your health but also your sanity!

Ready to Get Your Daily Essential Nutrients?

Of course, a healthy diet and regular exercise are vital for maintaining your well-being. But when it comes to your daily essential nutrients, you may need to make a few changes to optimize your intake.

Eat locally grown produce when you can. Make sure you store, prep, and cook your food properly for maximum nutritional value. Supplement with pills, powders, or patches to be 100% sure you’re getting the nutrients you need.

If you do all those things, you should have a well-nourished body for years to come!

Did you enjoy this article? Be sure to browse our other health and fitness posts for more great information.

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If You Want to be as Great as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or Sir Richard Branson, Read This

Success, real insane success is a marathon. Oh, and there are no shortcuts. You can’t spring your way to greatness. It takes times, a very long time.

Here is Richard Branson’s business timeline – his business ventures from the 1960s to today. It’s a very long list. It will give you an idea of what it took him to get to now.

These are two of the most upvoted responses on Quora to this question: “How can I be as great as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or Sir Richard Branson?

1. Justine Musk, Canadian author, and the first wife of Elon Musk

Extreme success results from an extreme personality and comes at the cost of many other things. Extreme success is different from what I suppose you could just consider ‘success’, so know that you don’t have to be Richard or Elon to be affluent and accomplished and maintain a great lifestyle.

Your odds of happiness are better that way. But if you’re extreme, you must be what you are, which means that happiness is more or less beside the point. These people tend to be freaks and misfits who were forced to experience the world in an unusually challenging way.

They developed strategies to survive, and as they grow older they find ways to apply these strategies to other things, and create for themselves a distinct and powerful advantage.

They don’t think the way other people think. They see things from angles that unlock new ideas and insights. Other people consider them to be somewhat insane.

Be obsessed.

Be obsessed.

Be obsessed.

If you’re not obsessed, then stop what you’re doing and find whatever does obsess you. It helps to have an ego, but you must be in service to something bigger if you are to inspire the people you need to help you  (and make no mistake, you will need them).

That ‘something bigger’ prevents you from going off into the ether when people flock round you and tell you how fabulous you are when you aren’t and how great your stuff is when it isn’t. Don’t pursue something because you “want to be great”.

Pursue something because it fascinates you, because the pursuit itself engages and compels you. Extreme people combine brilliance and talent with an *insane* work ethic, so if the work itself doesn’t drive you, you will burn out or fall by the wayside or your extreme competitors will crush you and make you cry.

Follow your obsessions until a problem starts to emerge, a big meaty challenging problem that impacts as many people as possible, that you feel hellbent to solve or die trying.

It might take years to find that problem, because you have to explore different bodies of knowledge, collect the dots and then connect and complete them.

It helps to have superhuman energy and stamina. If you are not blessed with godlike genetics, then make it a point to get into the best shape possible.

There will be jet lag, mental fatigue, bouts of hard partying, loneliness, pointless meetings, major setbacks, family drama, issues with the Significant Other you rarely see, dark nights of the soul, people who bore and annoy you, little sleep, less sleep than that. Keep your body sharp to keep your mind sharp. It pays off.

Learn to handle a level of stress that would break most people.

Don’t follow a pre-existing path, and don’t look to imitate your role models. There is no “next step”. Extreme success is not like other kinds of success; what has worked for someone else, probably won’t work for you.

They are individuals with bold points of view who exploit their very particular set of unique and particular strengths. They are unconventional, and one reason they become the entrepreneurs they become is because they can’t or don’t or won’t fit into the structures and routines of corporate life.

They are dyslexic, they are autistic, they have ADD, they are square pegs in round holes, they piss people off, get into arguments, rock the boat, laugh in the face of paperwork.

But they transform weaknesses in ways that create added advantage — the strategies I mentioned earlier — and seek partnerships with people who excel in the areas where they have no talent whatsoever.

They do not fear failure — or they do, but they move ahead anyway. They will experience heroic, spectacular, humiliating, very public failure but find a way to reframe until it isn’t failure at all.

When they fail in ways that other people won’t, they learn things that other people don’t and never will. They have incredible grit and resilience.

They are unlikely to be reading stuff like this. (This is *not* to slam or criticize people who do; I love to read this stuff myself.) They are more likely to go straight to a book: perhaps a biography of Alexander the Great or Catherine the Great* or someone else they consider Great.

Surfing the ‘Net is a deadly timesuck, and given what they know their time is worth — even back in the day when technically it was not worth that — they can’t afford it.

I could go on, it’s a fascinating subject, but you get the idea. I wish you luck and strength and perhaps a stiff drink should you need it.

2. Michael Simmons, Co-Founder, Empact & Award-Winning Entrepreneur

Most of these people have focused on individual traits such as hard work, deliberate practice, etc.. But when we look in the real world, we see that individual traits aren’t the whole story.

There are so many people who work extremely hard, have great ideas, plan out big things and so forth, yet they are not nearly as successful as these four legends.

I myself am an entrepreneur. I have been since the age of 16. Recently though, I had the same underlying question you had.

Because of that, I went out searching for the answer.

Through my interviews I do for Forbes, I recently came across the field of network science. This field has studied how people become successful from a completely different angle. They’ve found that how we build our network may be the best predictor of success.

Since then, I have interviewed many of the world’s top network scientists on a quest to understand how networks create competitive advantage in business and careers.

Out of the four legends that have been mentioned, I feel that the best person to showcase as a prime example of how networks impact success is  Steve Jobs.

Since then, books have been written and movies have been made.

Each has celebrated his legacy and aimed to share the secrets he used to build the largest company in the world; things like attention to detail, attracting world-class talent and holding them to high standards.

We think we understand what caused his success.

We don’t.

We dismiss usable principles of success by labeling them as personality quirks.

What’s often missed is the paradoxical interplay of two of his seemingly opposite qualities;

  1. Maniacal focus
  2. Insatiable curiosity

These weren’t just two random strengths. They may have been his most important as they helped lead to everything else.

Jobs’ curiosity fueled his passion and provided him with access to unique insights, skills, values, and world-class people who complemented his own skillset. Job’s focus brought those to bear in the world of personal electronics.

I don’t just say this as someone who has devoured practically every article, interview, and book featuring him.

I say this as someone who has been monomaniacal in the study and research of what the underlying key components are that create career success.

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