The USDA RDA, or the U.S. Department of Agriculture Recommended Daily Allowance, is a set of guidelines to the recommended daily intake of a wide variety of nutrients. In addition to standards for children, pregnant and nursing women, and seniors, the USDA sets a standard of vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, fats and carbohydrates that the average adult should eat on a daily basis.
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The USDA RDA for macronutrients sets standards for daily intake of carbohydrates, protein, all types of fats and fiber. It includes both general recommendations for the populace at large, as well as individual recommendations that health care providers can give to their patients based on a calculation of personal factors. The recommended daily allowance of macronutrients for the average adult is 45 to 65 grams of carbohydrates, 10 to 30 grams of protein, 25 to 35 grams of fat and 21 to 31 grams of fiber daily.
Vitamins play important roles in your body, including supporting growth and tissue repair and helping organ systems to work properly. The daily recommendation for average adults includes 600 to 700 micrograms of vitamin A; 45 to 75 milligrams of vitamin C; 5 to 15 micrograms of vitamin D; 15 milligrams of vitamin E; 60 to 120 micrograms of vitamin K; 1.2 milligrams each of thiamine, riboflavin and vitamin B6; 14 to 16 milligrams of niacin; 400 micrograms of folate; 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12; and 5 milligrams of pantothenic acid.
Minerals are found in trace amounts in foods. Minerals contribute to many bodily functions, including bone strength and nerve transmissions. The USDA RDA sets basic recommendations for daily mineral intake as follows: 1200 to 1300 milligrams of calcium, 20 to 35 micrograms of chromium, 700 to 900 micrograms of copper, 150 micrograms of iodine, 2 to 3 milligrams of fluoride, 8 to 18 milligrams of iron, 300 to 420 milligrams of magnesium, 1.8 to 2.2 milligrams of manganese, 43 to 45 micrograms of molybdenum, 700 milligrams of phosphorus, 55 micrograms of selenium, 9 to 11 milligrams of zinc, 4.7 grams of potassium, 1.5 grams of sodium and 2.3 grams of choloride.
The USDA created the food pyramid to help you learn to eat foods that will supply you with the proper amount of micronutrients and macronutrients. USDA daily recommendations include eating 3 to 6 ounces of complex carbohydrates, three to five servings of fruit, four to six servings of vegetables, two to three servings each of lean protein and low-fat dairy, and minimal fats, oils and sugars.
The USDA also recommends that you eat a variety of foods in order to get all of the nutrients your body needs. This includes eating brightly colored fruits and vegetables in different colors because different colored produce contains different vitamins.