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5 S.A.D. Nutrient Deficiencies

20 J0000008UTC 2011

Costco Aisle

On your next trip to Costco, you can purchase a pallet of nutritional supplements. If your knee is achy after softball or your heart is palpitating  just pick up a three pack of the best seller and throw it in your oversized basket. But before any pill-popping begins, back away from the Mountain Dew, ‘Healthy’ Choice dinner and CoQ10 aperitif, think a while and start to eat like you mean it instead. I can say this because I ate a steady diet of Totino’s pizzas and Dr. Pepper for over half of my life.

Rather than loading up on supplements to counteract the crappy Standard American Diet (S.A.D.), focus on food first to provide what the body needs for nutrient supply, enzymatic reactions, inflammation reduction and the avoidance of chronic diseases that plague our nation– diabetes, heart disease and cancer. When you learn how to fill your plate with real, fresh food you pop fewer pills, combat disease and move towards your natural, healthy weight.

The Standard American Diet has ruled our nation for 30 years, held up by the food industry, the USDA and the FDA  ( The S.A.D. is characterized by processed meat, sugary snacks and drinks, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and refined grains, especially wheat. Examples are Vanilla Wafers, Yoplait, Oscar Mayer ‘meats’, Tyson ‘chicken’, Triscuits, Pilsbury cinnamon rolls (I’ve eaten a square mile), Pop Tarts and Arizona Iced Tea. If you need more, go down the center aisles at your grocery store.

Five S.A.D. nutrient deficiencies and their food sources so you can eat like you mean it:

Calcium (Ca)– 75-90% of Americans are deficient, often because of the phosphorus content in carbonated drinks. Phosphorus, caffeine and alcohol imbalance the calcium in your body, so you must leach it from your bones, making them more susceptible to breakage and osteoporosis. Even if you’ve “Got Milk”, if you’ve got Diet Pepsi too, you are at risk for Ca depletion and osteoporosis. Middle-aged ladies, especially beware.

Food sources of calcium: sardines, canned salmon, cheese, sesame seeds, tahini (sesame butter), almonds, yogurt, leafy greens (spinach, collards, mustards, chard), blackstrap molasses, apricots, kelp and other sea veggies, bok choy, broccoli and cabbage. Calcium works synergistically with magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K and opposite phosphorus.

Magnesium (Mg)– 68-80% of Americans are deficient in this vital mineral (used in 300 enzymatic processes) and have no clue. Mg often becomes low when calcium and dairy are overdone. Digestive issues, diuretics, blood pressure medications, antibiotics and oral contraceptives decrease absorption and availability of Mg. That covers a lot of Americans.

Food sources of magnesium are spinach, kale, Swiss chard, broccoli, summer squash, halibut, almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, pecans, filberts, raw pumpkin seeds, raw sesame seeds, raw sunflower seeds, salmon, black beans, navy beans, blackstrap molasses, buckwheat and millet. You pretty much cannot outdo yourself in this list.

Zinc (Zn)– 50% of us are deficient in this trace mineral. Zinc is involved in more enzymatic processes than any other mineral. Zinc depletion can look like immune depression, frequent colds/flus, slow wound healing, persistent acne/skin blemishes, poor sense of smell/taste and low sperm count.

Food sources of zinc are oysters, ginger, calf’s liver, beef ternderloin, lamb, pecans, Brazil nuts, fish, sesame deeds, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, turkey, chicken and green peas.

Vitamin D (calciferol)– 75% of Americans are deficient in what is more a hormone than a vitamin, acquired in truest form from the sun’s UV rays. Vitamin D is heart, cancer and diabetes and bone protective. Clearly, seeing this list clues us into it’s importance in American health. Yet, vitamin D is not best acquired through a pill!

The best source of vitamin D is the sun! It  requires a balance, but spring and summer sun on unprotected skin for short periods of time (10-20 minutes) is the best source of vitamin D. Intense sunscreen and long winters keep us from vitamin D. Food sources of D are cod liver oil, sardines, salmon, egg yolks, shrimp, shiitake mushrooms and butter.

Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids (n3)– A popular one currently n3 reduces bodily inflammation, restores cell membranes and fortifies the brain, heart, hair and skin. A big problem for Omega 3s is the overabundance of Omega 6 essential fatty acids in the S.A.D. found in vegetable, canola, soy, sunflower and safflower oils found in nearly every shelf product and commercial meat and eggs. The common ratio of n6 to n3 in America is roughly 25:1. What we want is roughly 3:1.

Food sources of Omega 3s are flax seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, soy beans and green leafy vegetables (ALA, alpha linolenic acid); salmon, sardines, halibut, shrimp, snapper, scallops, some forms of algae, cauliflower, cabbage, cloves, broccoli, oregano, mustard (EPA and DHA, eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaeonic acid).

You probably are not going to OD on pumpkin seeds, spinach or sardines. When you build a meal with foods rich in commonly missing nutrients, you fortify your body and swim against the S.A.D. current.

Eat like you mean it and your body will thank you.

Want extra Info? Check the Bauman College Website: Calcium-; Magnesium-; Omega-3 EFAs-; Vitamin D-; Zinc-

Resources:;;;;; Scientific American, March 23, 2009; National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey; The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray;

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