A truly healthy lifestyle includes a wide variety of foods that provide a host of nutrients that are essential to life. I don’t like to value one nutrient above the other, what is important is variety and balance, but I do want to give you some more information on a few specific nutrients that many of us simply don’t get enough of. I also want to explain why they are important and how we can incorporate them into our healthy eating regimen easily. Let’s dive into nutrient #5: Chromium.
Chromium is a mineral that humans need in small amounts, and one we often don’t get enough of. It is an essential component in metabolism: it regulates blood sugar and aids insulin to transport glucose to our cells to be used for energy. It has also been shown to raise HDL, or “good”, cholesterol levels, and therefore may prevent against heart disease. In this country, we are more deficient in this mineral than in any other developed country; about 25-50% of us don’t get enough chromium. The reason for this is the American industrialized food supply has given us less exposure to chromium, which is found in the soil where our food grows, and refining and over-processing have eliminated nearly all the chromium from our foods. As we age, we become less able to absorb chromium, so the elderly are especially at risk for chromium deficiency. Without adequate amounts of chromium helping to manage our insulin sensitivity, we are more susceptible to developing chronic conditions like Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome. Even mild deficiency can result in poor blood sugar balance and symptoms of anxiety and fatigue.
The first approach to take for getting more chromium into your diet is to eat foods that you either grown yourself or purchase from your local farmer’s market. These foods come directly from the soil and haven’t endured a long trip on a truck or a bath of either hot water or toxic chemicals that remove these beneficial soil minerals. Foods highest in chromium include broccoli, gluten-free oats, green beans, tomatoes, raw onions, and Romaine lettuce.
If you are looking for a no-fuss breakfast that’s ready almost as soon as you get up, try these overnight oats for a super dose of chromium to start the day!
- In a mason jar, place ½ cup of gluten-free oats, then an optional sweetener (like raw honey or maple syrup), 1 Tbsp of chia seeds, and ½ cup of unsweetened almond or coconut milk.
- Cover and shake until all ingredients are combined, then put in the fridge overnight.
- In the morning, feel free to add some blueberries, extra seeds or nuts, nut butters, anything you like that will fuel you for the day ahead.
This is just a basic recipe. You can tailor this in any way you like to suit your dietary needs and tastes. If you’re a fan of Pinterest you’ll find lots of great takes on overnight oats there, so check it out if you’re inter