To maintain a healthy diet, it's important to get various vitamins and nutrients. This doesn't have to be through supplements—here are 6 ways to sneak these nutrients into your daily diet.
Over the past several years, people have become more health-conscious—we exercise more, watch our diet and take care of our overall well-being. Younger people especially have been observed to be more conscious of their health-related choices.
Naturally, since healthy eating is a critical part of health consciousness, people have taken to educating themselves on how their diet affects their health.
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients for the development and functionality of the body. As such, it is important to take in a healthy amount of them every day. They are also referred to as micronutrients because they are only needed in small quantities by the body.
It is, however, essential to note that all micronutrients are not needed in the same amounts. According to the WHO, there are three main micronutrients in need of immediate attention: vitamin A, iodine and iron. These three micronutrients are essential for the growth, development, and functionality of the human body, especially in pregnant women and children.
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients for the development and functionality of the body.
Although food is the primary way to obtain vitamins and minerals, supplements are a great option, too. They can be especially useful for people with specific conditions related to digestion or in case of an acute lack of micronutrients.
One major challenge with finding the right supplements is that the market is filled with placebos parading as genuine products. When buying, make sure to purchase from recognized and trusted names like Biogena USA. Popular brands are less likely to use placebos or make outrageous claims on their products.
For most people, however, food remains the main source of micronutrients. The famous 5-A-Day eating schedule has been recommended by the health professionals as a great way for people to meet up with their micronutrient requirements through their diet. Whether you’re on the 5-A-Day plan or you’re trying to meet up with your micronutrient requirements another way, there are a couple of steps you can take to maximize your diet.
Here are six ways you can get the most vitamins and minerals from your diet:
1. Shop for fresh and local food items
Because of the huge food demand, large corporations often have to harvest fruits and vegetables prematurely and allow them to ripen off the stalk. The downside to this is that the veggies and fruits do not get to absorb enough micronutrients from the plants before being harvested.
If the fruits and veggies have to be brought across long distances, preservative methods will be used to prevent spoilage. However, these preservative methods often destroy some of the micronutrients.
Farmers’ markets are an excellent place to shop if you’re looking to improve your micronutrient intake.
The solution is to shop for freshly harvested produce. Farmers’ markets are an excellent place to shop if you’re looking to improve your micronutrient intake. Fresh food items also contain a higher amount of antioxidants than their storage counterparts.
2. Steam vegetables or eat them raw
Food processing methods can also have adverse effects on micronutrients, especially heat. Heating food breaks down the enzymes in them. While the breakdown is important sometimes for ease of digestion, with vegetables, it is counterproductive. Heating vegetables at elevated temperatures destroys most of the vitamins and minerals in them.
Eating vegetables raw is the best way to access all the nutrients locked in them. If you have problems eating veggies raw, you can blend them into a green smoothie which you can easily drink up.
Steaming is the best option if you’re intent on cooking your veggies. As opposed to boiling, it helps you retain more of the nutrients. Steam the veggies until they are no longer raw but are still brightly colored. That way, you’ll keep the flavor, color, and nutrients.
3. Swap your drinks for fruit smoothies and juices
Fizzy drinks, which have become a part of our feeding culture, are detrimental to the overall well-being of people. Most of the side effects of these drinks are due to the presence of refined sugar, which is the suspected culprit in the recent rise of cardiovascular diseases. Refined sugars like corn syrup are present in almost all commercial drinks. In addition to that, most of these drinks contain phosphoric acid, which drains calcium from your bones.
Eating vegetables raw is the best way to access all the nutrients locked in them.
If you can’t do without a drink for your meals, you’re can either blend your fruits into smoothies or make juice from them. Smoothies and fruit juices are a recommended way of reaching the 5-A-Day day fruit and vegetable target.
4. Make nuts a staple
One great thing about nuts is that they can be easily carried around. This makes them an excellent snack. Although they are more famous for their high-fat content and protein, they are also great sources of vitamin E and magnesium.
Almonds and Brazil nuts are the most nutritional nuts with one serving of each providing around 19 percent and 26 percent of an adult’s regular daily intake (RDI) of magnesium. Brazil nuts also contain selenium, an important antioxidant. One serving of brazil nuts provides more than 100 percent of a person’s daily selenium RDI. Other notably healthy nuts are cashew nuts, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, and peanuts.
High amounts of nuts in foods have been shown to not significantly affect weight loss/gain.
Interestingly, high amounts of nuts in foods have been shown to not significantly affect weight loss/gain, which makes them the perfect snack for anyone looking to lose weight, cut down on sugar and increase micronutrient intake.
5. Ingest more dairy products
Unless you’re lactose intolerant or vegetarian, milk should be a part of your everyday food routine. Milk is an excellent source of calcium, which is vital for building and maintaining bone density. It also contains other micronutrients like Potassium, Phosphorus, Vitamins A, B2, B12, and D.
Milk and other dairy products have also been observed to help with gout. One pint of milk a day is typically enough to meet an adult’s calcium needs and can be taken with any meal.
6. Eat fish regularly
Fish is an excellent source for several micronutrients including iodine, potassium, magnesium, Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids. The NHS encourages people to eat fish at least twice a week, especially oily fish, which are renowned for their omega-3.
To properly enjoy the nutrients in fish, it is best to steam, grill, or bake it.
To properly enjoy the nutrients in fish, it is best to steam, grill, or bake it. Fried fish often contains higher amounts of cholesterol which is counterproductive. Some oily fishes contain edible bones, which are excellent sources of calcium and phosphorus.
Eating healthy is part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Even if you’re a vegetarian or you have an allergy, there’s always a way to get the vitamins and minerals you need. If you have difficulty getting them through food, you can always get them through supplements.