10 Nutrients You Definitely Want to Know More About
January 28, 2014

10 Nutrients You Definitely Want to Know More About

Being healthy is seriously important to me, as is trying to inspire the desire to be healthy in others. One way I try to do that is to write about health in many ways. Today, let’s take a look at some nutrients that can help boost our spirits and lift our energy. The Washington Post recently reported about ten nutrients that do just that, and they are seriously easy to add to our diets. What are these nutrients?

  • Calcium
  • Chromium
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc

Let’s break these down and learn what they do to pep up our steps.


We all know that calcium is necessary for healthy bones, but it also helps with healthy blood vessels and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, low levels of calcium just might play a role in PMS-related depression. This nutrient is pretty easy to get from a variety of sources including collard greens, cheeses, yogurt, milk, kale, and from pill supplements.


This nutrient helps our systems to metabolize food. As the Washington Post article says, “A lack of chromium hurts the body’s ability to regulate insulin (the hormone that regulates sugar) and may lead to diabetes-related complications such as vision loss and high blood pressure.” Chromium can be found in broccoli, grape juice, whole-wheat English muffins, potatoes, and turkey breast, as well as in a pill supplement form.


Also known as B9 or folic acid, folate contributes to the body’s ability to create new cells and supports serotonin regulation. A deficiency in this nutrient directly contributes to fatigue thus just regulating folate will boost energy, which in turn boosts mood. To find folate, look to the following: spinach, black-eyed peas, asparagus, brussel sprouts, and avocado, or purchase it in pill form.


The Washington Post article put it best: “Iron plays an important role in the body, from transporting oxygen to supporting energy levels and aiding muscle strength. Low levels of iron can lead to feelings of fatigue and depression. Iron deficiency appears more frequently in women than men, especially women of childbearing age.”

We can find iron in many sources including pill form. The most popular food sources are fortified oatmeal, soybeans, lentils, beef ribeye, and the dark meat of turkey.


Directly connected to serotonin, magnesium deficiencies can cause issues from irritability to fatigue, mental confusion, and stress. Almonds, cashews, spinach, peanuts, and edamame are good food sources of magnesium, or just get it in a pill.

Omega 3s

Important to brain health, omega-3 fatty acids help to decrease the risk of depression and suicide. A lack of omega 3s can lead to fatigue, mood swings, memory decline, and depression. In addition to fish, especially salmon, one can add omega 3s to a diet through chia seeds, Chinese broccoli, and spinach. If none of these appeal to you, then it comes in gel caps as well.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 contributes to neurotransmitters thus deficiency can lead to short-term anemia, weakened immune system, confusion, and depression. Adding chickpeas, yellowfin tuna, salmon, chicken breast, and fortified cereals, or a pill supplement will help to balance out this nutrient and provide mood balance.

Vitamin B12

“Because moods depend largely on signals from the brain, B12 plays an important role in regulating depression: Consuming enough Vitamin B12 allows the body to synthesize a group of nutrients critical for normal neurological function.” Additionally, vitamin B12 is found in meats, eggs, and animal byproducts, so we vegetarians often develop deficiencies.

Vitamin D

This nutrient is so important for health in many ways. It helps maintain a healthy immune system, protects bones, helps to keep the blues away, and may have some serious heart health benefits. In addition to pills, we can find it in cod liver oil, salmon, swordfish, chanterelle mushrooms, milk, and from the sun.


Last on the list of great nutrients is zinc. Because it is found in almost every cell of the human body, zinc is crucial for our health. It supports the immune system and helps protect the body from gut damage. It also helps balance our moods. So eat some more of the following:

  • Roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Cashews
  • King Alaska crab
  • Pork loin
  • Swiss cheese
  • Pill supplements

Okay, so, here are some easy ways to beat the blues and boost energy. In many cases, we can get several of these nutrients in just one food. This is an easy way to be healthier and feel better.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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