n Here's how to incorporate the seven most common

missing nutrients in your diet.

BY JANET HELM

McClatchy-Tribune

CHICAGO - Talk about nutrition tends to focus on America's widening waistlines. No doubt, we're a nation that's overfed. But we're also undernourished.

Government surveys show that we continue to suffer from nutritional shortfalls - a fact that's often overlooked because we're obviously eating enough calories.

The seven most neglected nutrients are calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, C and E.

Filling these nutrient gaps is not as tough as it may seem. Sure, a multivitamin could remedy part of the problem, but you would be missing out on some of the natural compounds in food that can't be captured in a pill. Plus, supplements are meant to be just that - supplemental to the diet. Pills are not intended to be substitutes for real food.

Here's why you need these nutrients and how you can easily get more.

Calcium

n People not getting enough: 70 percent

n Why you need it: Promotes bone health, helps muscles contract, may help maintain normal blood pressure

n Your daily goal: 1,000 mg

n How to reach it: Drink a skim latte made with 8 ounces of milk andÉ

- eat a cup of yogurt as a mid-afternoon snack and É

- grate 11-2 ounces of cheese on your salad or pasta at dinner

Potassium

n People not getting enough: 97 percent

n Why you need it: Regulates body fluids, helps maintain normal blood pressure, needed for muscle contractions

n Your daily goal: 4,700 mg

n How to reach it: Include 1 cup of orange juice and 1-2 cantaloupe at breakfast and ...

- Stir 1 cup of white beans and 1-4 cup of tomato paste into a soup and ...

- Eat a banana in the afternoon and...

- Eat 5 ounces of pork tenderloin and a baked potato at dinner

Fiber

n People not getting enough: 96 percent

n Why you need it: Helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels, promotes regularity, can help reduce hunger

n Your daily goal: Men - 38 g. Women - 25 g

n How to reach it: Eat 11-2 cups of oatmeal topped with 1-4 cup raspberries for breakfast and ...

- Make a sandwich with whole-grain bread and eat a pear with your lunch and ...

- Snack on 1-4 cup dried figs and ...

- Eat 1 cup of steamed broccoli and 1 cup of whole-wheat pasta at dinner

Magnesium

n People not getting enough: 56 percent

n Why you need it: Supports bone and heart health, signals muscles to relax and contract

n Your daily goal: Men - 420 mg. Women - 320 mg

n How to reach it: Eat 1 ounce of whole-grain cereal and1-2 cup milk for breakfast and ...

- Include 1 cup of sauteed spinach and 1 cup of brown rice with your dinner and ...

- Snack on 1 ounce of Brazil nuts

Vitamin A

n People not getting enough: 44 percent

n Why you need it: Promotes healthy skin, eyesight and immune function

n Your daily goal: Men - 900 mcg. Women - 700 mcg

n How to reach it: Add 1 cup of sliced carrots to your stir-fry or...

- Bake a medium-sized sweet potato as a side with dinner

Vitamin C

n People not getting enough: 31 percent

n Why you need it: Promotes a healthy immune system, helps wounds heal, works as an antioxidant to inhibit damage to body cells

n Your daily goal: Men - 90 mg. Women - 75 mg

n How to reach it: Slice a small red pepper on your salad or...

- Eat 1 cup of strawberries for dessert

Vitamin E

n People not getting enough: 93 percent

n Why you need it: Acts as an antioxidant that may help lower risk of heart disease and cancer, helps bolster the immune system

n Your daily goal: 15 mg

n How to reach it: Top a salad with half of an avocado and a dressing made with 1 tablespoon safflower oil and...

- Snack on 1 ounce of almonds or sunflower seeds

Recommended daily intakes are for adults, ages 19-50

Source: What We Eat in America, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2005. www.ars.usda.gov/foodsurvey.

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