You know that things like fiber and omega-3s are good for you, but consuming them in excess just isn’t necessary—and your calorie count could be spent in other waysBy: Emily G. W. Chau
Every health guru will tell you to load up on antioxidants, fiber, and omega-3s, but as is the case with most everything in life, you can have too much of a good thing. A healthy balance of nutrients will help keep your weight down and your body strong, but flooding your system with 1000 percent of your daily-recommended intake of vitamin C will hardly give you a nutritional edge. Plus, downing two servings of a sugary smoothie for the sake of its nutrients can saddle you with extra calories.
Instead, maximize the health benefits of your diet without over-taxing your belly. Here’s a breakdown of what your body actually needs, and how you can get these healthy nutrients in appropriate quantities.
Benefits: Builds strong bones, may reduce your risk for obesity, colorectal and breast cancer, and certain auto-immune diseases
Too much: May cause kidney stones, constipation, nausea
Aim for: 5 micrograms/day
Equivalent to: About 1 oz smoked salmon (size of your thumb), 2 cups low-fat chocolate milk, 2/3 can of light tuna fish packed in water
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Benefits: Builds strong bones, controls muscle contractions, boosts heart health, may reduce your risk for breast cancer
Too much: May cause stomach pain, constipation, muscle aches
Aim for: 1000 mg/day
Equivalent to: About 2 cups of plain nonfat yogurt, ¾ cup Whole Grain Total cereal
Benefits: Helps lower blood pressure, keeps you regular, may help you lose weight
Too much: Can lead to gas, bloating, stomach cramps
Aim for: 25 g/day (women); 31 g/day (men)
Equivalent to: About 1 1/3 cups navy beans, 1 cup bran cereal, 4 ½ pears
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Benefits: Lowers triglycerides, improves heart health, and boosts mood
Too much: Can increase your risk for bleeding
Aim for: 1.1 g/day (women); 1.6 g/day (men)
Equivalent to: About 3.5 oz of salmon, ¾ Tbsp flaxseed, 6 walnuts
Benefits: Helps heal wounds, strengthens your immune system, may lower your risk for certain cancers
Too much: Can lead to nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps
Aim for: 75 mg/day (women); 90 mg/day (men)
Equivalent to: About ½ cup of orange juice, 1/3 cup sweet red pepper, 2 sips of an Odwalla C-Monster
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Benefits: Helps your vision and bone growth, wards off infection
Too much: Headache, dizziness, blurry vision, coordination problems
Aim for: 0.7 mg/day (women); 0.9 mg/day (men)
Equivalent to: About ¾ of a medium baked sweet potato, ¾ cup carrots
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