We’ve all become very familiar with the most basic tenets of a healthier lifestyle: “drink water instead of sugary drinks”, “get more lean protein in your diet”, “cut out white flours”, “eat more fruit and vegetables”. Certainly these suggestions are great ways to improve your health, but they’re rather vague and simply order a person to have “more of this” and “less of that”.

Most people’s health regimens already include a nutritious diet with lots of regular exercise. These things are something of health dogmas, and are mostly geared toward helping a person lose weight; they don’t necessarily offer a comprehensive health program that your body can benefit from while you age. Of course more servings of fruit and vegetables will always have a positive impact on your health, but there are specific nutrients in these large food categories that play crucial roles in our basic bodily functions. Because our desire to lose weight and appear healthy can be so intense we sometimes neglect to include the little things that our body needs to remain healthy in the future.

These often-overlooked nutrients usually take a back seat to the more high-profile health staples: antioxidants, vitamin C and of course, protein, tend to get the most publicity of the pantheon of healthy foods. However, if you are truly interested in having a health program that is as well-rounded as it can be, consider introducing some more of the following nutrients into your diet so that you can secure the health of your for when you get older.


Zinc, like some of the other minerals that will be discussed, isn’t naturally generated by our bodies. This means that if we don’t introduce it manually, we’re not going to get the amounts of it that we need. Only about 8 to 11 mg of the mineral are needed for an adult on a daily basis, but stimulants and physical activity can make our bodies deplete their zinc inventory more quickly.

Considering that we’re still in the back end of flu season, it would be good to think about consuming more zinc since it plays a role in strengthening our immune systems. Zinc has a lot of responsibility when it comes to allowing your body to replicate genetic information during cell creation; when your body needs to create more cells that will help ward off sickness, a diet that provides sufficient amounts of zinc is essential to facilitate the production of disease-fighting cells. We all know that Vitamin C is the best way to prevent illness beforehand, but after the onset of disease a diet that’s rich in zinc can help your body generate the cells necessary to help you recover.

Since zinc plays such a crucial role in recreating genetic material, it is necessarily an important part of the reproductive process. For instance, zinc helps stabilize the DNA in sperm cells, keeping genetic material intact for fertilization. A male will lose approximately 15 mg of zinc in a single ejaculation, so if a guy fails to replenish his body’s zinc reserves, his sperm might be ineffective.

Again, you’ll need to be getting your Zinc from somewhere since your body won’t make it on its own. Seafood like oysters and shellfish, as well as some good steak and even pine nuts are great ways to keep your zinc levels stable.


People often avoid Omega-3 because it’s technically a “fatty acid”; therefore, it can be understood that many people don’t want to spoil their hard work in staying fit with anything that will make them gain weight. Actually, the amount of “fat” that these acids contain is truly negligible and, regardless, they offer far too many health benefits to be excluded from any diet.

Omega-3s primarily come in two different forms: EPA and DHA. These are the structures that are found in fish oil and can contribute to your cardiovascular wellness. DHA alone is thought to help the body reduce triglyceride levels when they go above average. Just so you know triglycerides are the fats found in your bloodstream, an abundance of which can put a person at risk for heart disease. Additionally, it’s suggested that fish oil supplements might reduce arrhythmias and prevent future heart attacks in a person who has already experienced one.

These fatty acids can even help reduce swelling and inflammation that occurs all over the body. Human blood vessels, intestines and joints can all experience inflammation, but Omega-3s can mitigate the amount of swelling that occurs in the body. Furthermore, if someone is already medicated with anti-inflammatory drugs, an Omega-3 supplement can even make that medication more effective.

A diet that periodically includes fish is probably the easiest way to get the recommended amount of Omega-3s into your body: both EPA and DHA types. However, the fish that contain Omega-3s aren’t typically very lean, so you can always substitute a daily fish oils supplement if you are concerned about allowing more calories into your diet.


Fiber shouldn’t be too unfamiliar, especially since most everyone understands that it does a good job of cleaning out your colon. Still, whenever we are planning our diets, we don’t really prioritize food that makes us go to the restroom more efficiently. Because of this, most people’s daily fiber intake is well below what health professionals suggest it should be: most people consume 14-15 grams per day, whereas between 20-35 grams are recommended.

The great thing about fiber is that it comes in a variety of forms, making it more beneficial to your bodily functions: there are both soluble and insoluble types that assist in allowing your body to digest food properly. Insoluble fiber is the type that can’t be digested by your body, but manages to attract water to itself; since human waste is about 80% water, the added hydration gives you a softer stool, which facilitates the extraction of nutrients in the lower intestine while making your bathroom breaks, well…more comfortable. Soluble fiber can be absorbed by the body, and it does so by fermenting in the lower intestines – this generates more nutrient production in your bowels which, with a softer stool, can allow your body to absorb more nutrition. The two types of fiber are sort of biological compliments to one another when they work together and can have a positive influence on your intestinal health.

If you’re more the fitness type, fiber has a few features that might be attractive to you, too. Since fiber gets broken down more slowly (if at all) it sort of tricks your body into thinking that it is fuller for longer. Your body also assumes that it’s full sooner than with other foods, and a slower digestive process allows you to feel satisfied for a longer period of time. This way you’re less likely to snack in between meals – something that can destroy your diet. The best ways to get your daily fiber are through a multivitamin, oatmeal, or veggies.


Folate might be one of the more unfamiliar candidates on this page. It’s not usually something that is considered to be a necessary part of a health-conscious diet, mostly because people don’t actually know what it is. Despite how unfamiliar it might be, it is something that everyone should include in their diets if they intend on enjoying their later years.

Everyone, without exception, is aging – and each person faster than he or she would like to think. By including folate in your diet, you can help your body resist possible dementia in the future, and some scientists even suggest that it can prevent Alzeimer’s disease. The British Medical Association’s Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry published a study that observed 520 elderly people over two years. During the timespan of the study, 45 of the subjects developed some kind of dementia and 34 subjects were diagnosed with Alzeimer’s. The study indicated a serious correlation between folate deficiencies in the patients and the likelihood that each one would develop dementia.

Folate and folic acid, much like zinc, aid in cell growth and cell division, making them both very important to pregnant women and infants, for obvious reasons. It can also help create new red blood cells, and prevent the body from becoming anemic.

Folate can be found largely in leafy greens – the term “folic” is derived from the Latin word for “leaf”, “folium” – so spinach, lettuce and dried beans are the easiest ways to find this nutrient. And like many of these vitamins and minerals, you can incorporate a good multivitamin into your daily routine to make sure you’re giving your body what it needs.


While these foods are integral to a comprehensive approach to bodily health, many people are still deficient in these substances. You should consult a doctor as soon as possible if you suspect that your dietary habits aren’t nutritional enough and are harming your health. A doctor will know precisely which nutrients are important to your personal health and can work with you to find a diet that’s both healthy, and feasible for your situation.

Use caution when devising a dietary plan that is strictly meant to help you lose weight. It’s far too easy to exclude nutrition that your body needs to maintain its regular functions healthily. Looking good in a swimsuit this year is great, but you’ll want to make sure that you are healthy enough to enjoy many, many summers to come.

Author's Bio: 

Patrick is a content writer and blogger for the Dallas-based web design company, SEOTA. With a degree in Critical Media Studies, he enjoys musing on film and television culture when he isn't writing for local lawyers, physicians and small businesses.