A Wholesome and balanced diet:
There is a lot of fuss about cutting out food groups- gluten, dairy, carbs etc. I personally prefer using the five main food groups. I prefer and recommend getting your daily intake of vitamins and minerals through the nutritious food you eat every day, rather than taking supplements and cutting out food groups ( unless you are required to do so due to health) I recently was on a gluten elimination diet due to continuous stomach pains and frequent trips to go & emergency. It took quiet some time, but I was able to safely reintroduce gluten into my duet.. The key word being “in moderation”. That is what a healthy and balanced diet is really. Cutting out food groups can create deficiencies. Some people take multivitamins to help balance their diet. Multivitamins can be used to prevent deficiencies if recommended by your doctor, but shouldn’t be used as a complete replacement. You can eat a balanced diet and incorporate all of the essential vitamins & minerals just by getting to know where to find them.
It’s really important to understand what Nutrients, essential vitamins and minerals do for your body and which natural foods are full of them. So here are some basics to get you started!
Magnesium is needed to for muscle and nerve functioning. It also helps to regulate blood sugar levels and it supports energy metabolism. Natural sources of magnesium include High magnesium foods include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, bananas, dried fruit, dark chocolate, and more..
Vitamin A is classed as an antioxidant which can help to boost your immune system, improve vision and reduce the risk of heart disease. Vitamin A also supports cell growth and differentiation, playing a critical role in the normal formation and maintenance of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs. Concentrations of preformed vitamin A are highest in liver and fish oils . Other sources of preformed vitamin A are milk and eggs, which also include some provitamin A . Most dietary provitamin A comes from leafy green vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables; sweet potato, pumpkins to. Also tomato products & fruits. RDA vary due to gender, age, pregnancy etc.
This antioxidant is a huge boost for your immune system and can help to fight off or help prevent the onset of a cold or flu. It even assists with healing; cuts, bruises etc. and has been scientifically studied to assist the prevention of wrinkles. Below is a list high vitamin C foods by nutrient density, capsicums, dark leafy greens, kiwi fruit, broccoli, berries and in citrus fruits, like oranges, lemons and limes. Also in lower amounts in tomatoes and peas. The current DV for vitamin C is 60mg.
Iron is a mineral that is naturally present in many foods, added to some food products, and available as a dietary supplement. Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, an erythrocyte protein that transfers oxygen from the lungs to the tissues . As a component of myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles, iron supports metabolism. Iron is also necessary for growth, development, normal cellular functioning, and synthesis of some hormones and connective tissue .
Dietary iron has two main forms: heme and nonheme . Plants and iron-fortified foods contain nonheme iron only, whereas meat, seafood, and poultry contain both heme and nonheme iron. Heme iron, which is formed when iron combines with protoporphyrin IX, contributes about 10% to 15% of total iron intakes in western populations .
If your daily intake of this mineral is too low, it could potentially lead to anaemia (lack of red blood cells), leaving you feeling fatigued with very little energy. Iron can be found in red meats and spinach however, if you think you are lacking in iron, it’s really important to talk to your doctor or dietitian about your diet and they will make a decision if taking an iron supplement would be required.
Calcium, the most abundant mineral in the body, is found in some foods, added to others, available as a dietary supplement, and present in some medicines (such as antacids). Calcium is required for vascular contraction and vasodilation, muscle function, nerve transmission, intracellular signaling and hormonal secretion, though less than 1% of total body calcium is needed to support these critical metabolic functions. The body uses bone tissue as a reservoir for, and source of calcium, to maintain constant concentrations of calcium in blood, muscle, and intercellular fluids.
The remaining 99% of the body’s calcium supply is stored in the bones and teeth where it supports their structure and function . Bone itself undergoes continuous remodeling, with constant resorption and deposition of calcium into new bone. The balance between bone resorption and deposition changes with age. Bone formation exceeds resorption in periods of growth in children and adolescents, whereas in early and middle adulthood both processes are relatively equal. In aging adults,
bone breakdown exceeds formation, resulting in bone loss that increases the risk of osteoporosis over time.
The main calcium contenders are milk, yogurt, and cheese, but dairy shouldn’t be the only dietary pit stop to fill up on this nutrient. Leafy greens such as broccoli , seafood, legumes, and fruit also contain calcium and many foods and drinks are fortified with the mineral.
Eating a balanced diet really just comes down to eating a colourful array of veggies, fruit, nuts, grains, meats and dairy. If you keep your meals colourful (im not taking fruit loops here) you will be providing yourself with the nutritional requirements for healthy living.