The Nutrient 411

Nutrients give our bodies the fuel we need to live energetic, healthy and nutritious lives, but getting the right amount of them isn’t always easy. Our experts weighed in on some of the most common nutrients women are slacking on, along with simple ways to consume them. Keep reading to brush up on your nutrient education.

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Magnesium

Magnesium is another important, yet often overlooked, mineral women need. In fact, Consiglio Ryan says up to 90% of Americans don't get the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium from their diet alone. "Getting the right amount of magnesium daily can help prevent leg cramps, migraines and fatigue," Consiglio Ryan said.

Find it in: Leafy greens, mixed nuts and whole grain foods. Consiglio Ryan also recommends taking a magnesium supplement. "It plays a big part in keeping the heart healthy, making sure bones are strong and helping the body absorb other important minerals, such as calcium and potassium."

How much do you need: The RDA of magnesium for women is 320 mg. per day.

6Omega-3

Wonder why you keep hearing about Omega-3 fatty acids? Probably because they're so darn good for you! According to Consiglio Ryan, these fatty acids have been shown to help lower triglycerides and increase the good HDL cholesterol. They may also help prevent blood clotting. "Research shows that Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis," Consiglio Ryan said. "Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function."

Find it in:  Fish. They're especially high in fatty fish, such as mackerel, salmon, sardines and herring. Consiglio Ryan recommends finding Omega-3 fatty acids in nuts, seeds and flaxseed oil.

How much do you need: Though there's no official nutritional recommendation on how much Omega-3 fatty acids women should eat, The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times per week.

7Protein

If you're like most women, you're not getting enough protein in your diet. "Women tend to be driven more towards carbohydrates, probably because we are more endurance-natured," Consiglio Ryan pointed out. "But if you exercise in any way, you need protein since it's the building block of muscle. You can work your butt off running, walking and weight training, but if you don't supply your muscles with protein, you won't get the results you're looking for."

Find it in: Chicken, fish, red meat, pork, low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat Greek yogurt and eggs.

How much do you need: Consiglio Ryan says you shouldn't worry about protein shakes or powders. "Instead, just make sure you 'see' protein at every breakfast, lunch and dinner," she said.

8Sleep

Though sleep isn't often thought of as a nutrient, Rose points out that it most definitely is. "By definition, a nutrient is 'something that nourishes,' and sleep definitely nourishes the body!" Rose said. "Everyone needs seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Not only does it make you a better, nicer, more efficient person, but it also regulates your hormones correctly."

More on your nutrient needs

Top 5 nutrient deficiencies
The top 8 fruits for optimal health
Health benefits of harvest vegetables

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