Nutrients are a critical part of what makes our bodies work at a cellular level. Without proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, our cells wouldn’t have the ability to survive. We need these things – and other nutrients – in order to perform basic biological processes. Everything from breathing and digesting food involves proper nutrients. However, for most of us, we don’t get the nutrients we need in order to live our best quality of life. Here are some of the most forgotten about or neglected nutrients that you need to stay healthy, as well as some ways to add these nutrients to your diet:

Vitamin E: This nutrient is a potent antioxidant and protects the body’s cells from free radicals. Vitamin E is also known for aiding in skin health, eye health, and even the prevention of certain cancers. Get your supply from vegetable oils, nuts, leafy green vegetables, avocado, sweet potato, spinach, broccoli, and eggs.

Vitamin D: We’ve all heard about getting vitamin D from sunlight, but did you know that you can also get some vitamin D from the foods you eat? It’s true! It’s found in eggs, milk, cod liver oil, and fish, as well as some fruits and vegetables. Vitamin D helps in regulating blood pressure, the absorption of other nutrients, and building healthy bones.

Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that is found in liver, meat, eggs, cheese, milk, and some varieties of fish. Benefits include healthy digestion, healthy skin, nails, and hair, protection against some forms of cancer, and most noticeably, our body’s energy levels.

Omega Fatty Acids: The benefits of omega fatty acids are many. In addition to supporting a healthy heart, omegas are also known for improving brain function, assisting in better skin and joints, and encouraging longevity. Get your daily dose of omegas through a diet rich in nuts, olives, and fish.

Vitamin K: Found in fermented foods and dark leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli, vitamin K helps in normal blood clotting and bone health.

Iron: This is an essential nutrient that many people don’t get enough of. Iron carries oxygen from the lungs throughout the body to nourish cells and is critical for good health and survival. You can boost your iron intake through adding red meat to your diet, or through eating foods like clams, oysters, soybeans, white beans, pumpkin seeds, lentils, and spinach.

Potassium: Found in orange juice, bananas, avocados, nuts, citrus fruits, milk, and potatoes, potassium is necessary for proper heart function, kidney function, and the function of many other bodily systems.

Magnesium: This nutrient helps in the prevention of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, as well as the treatment of migraines, insomnia, and depression. Up your intake by eating more fish, green leafy vegetables, and almonds.

Although they aren’t an essential nutrient per se, we do also recommend adding probiotics to your diet. Probiotics are necessary, good bacteria that help to keep our body in balance by assisting in the digestive process. When you have good levels of probiotics in your body, your immune system is stronger, your digestive process is easier, and you usually feel a whole lot better! Here’s where you can learn more about probiotics and how they play into a healthier lifestyle: Probiotics Basics