Is Your Diet Nutritionally Complete?
Almost everybody I know eats a certain kind of diet. Some swear by keto, others are vegan. Some are gluten-free while others are still preaching the Suzie Powter low-fat gospel from the early 1990s.
We’re pretty good at following these diets, especially when we see the resulting positive changes to our health. But what we’re not so good at doing is being aware of how some of these diets (okay, lifestyles) may be leaving us short on nutrients.
Please note that while the following is based on my own experience and research, it is not a substitute for advice from a medical professional. Check with your doctor and/or nutritionist if you have concerns about your health or diet-related questions.
I eat a mostly vegetarian diet and I’ve found that my iron levels are often less than ideal. If you’re a female of menstruation age, you might notice that you feel inexplicably exhausted and fog-brained from time to time like I do. My doctor recommended an iron supplement to me (I found a vegan-based on from the local health food store) and I felt so much better within 10 days. Now, I make sure I eat lots of eggs, dates, lentils, and green leafy vegetables which are all great sources of iron. Eggs are particularly great as they contain 0.7 mgs of iron per. Keep in mind we need 18 mg a day. So you can see why it’s so easy to become iron-deficient. As mentioned, consult with your doctor before adding iron supplements.
Zinc is another important nutrient. Not only do our immune systems rely on it to perform properly, zinc also plays an important roll in cell division, cell growth, the breakdown of carbs, and wound healing. Eggs contain about 0.5 mg of zinc per while seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin also contain it (about 0.9 mg per 100 grams). We need about 8-14 mg a day.
Since a vegan diet does not contain the nutrient-dense eggs, vegans need to focus on the above as well as Vitamin B12, Omega 3 fats, and calcium. Vitamin B12 is created by a bacterium and mostly found in animal products such as dairy, meat, and eggs. While many plant-based foods are fortified with B12 (such as nutritional yeast and some plant milks), it is recommended those who eat a vegan diet supplement their diet with a B12 vitamin. Same goes for Omega 3 fats. Fish and eggs carry this fatty acid but it can also be found in flaxseeds, walnuts, hempseeds, and chia seeds.
Calcium is key for muscle contraction, transmitting messages through our nerves, and the release of hormones. If you don’t get enough calcium then your body hits up your bones to ensure cells have what they need. This can lead to weakened bones.
Gluten-free and keto peeps need to be aware of possible vitamin B deficiencies. The B vitamins (of which there are eight in total) are considered to be the building blocks of a healthy body and are important for overall good health and well-being. If you’re not getting enough vitamins from this group, you may find you might have low energy, sluggish brain function, and underpowered cell function. Vitamin B also helps prevent infections as well as help support cell health by making new DNA.
Regardless of what kind of diet you’re on, you no doubt have heard that processed foods are just not that good for you. Processed foods such as white flour, breads, and rice are less nutritious than whole-grain options because they don’t contain as many B-group vitamins. Read more about this group here.
For those who are eating low-fat, you must ensure you are still taking in enough essential fats (omega-3 fats found in oily fish and in some nuts) as well as fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E, and K).
Since a healthy inside often results in a healthy outside, we make our best effort to give our bodies something to work with, remembering moderation is key when it comes to treats (which we so love).
SeaLuxe wishes all the best in health to you!