Do you find it difficult to eat a variety of foods all the time? In between juggling work, family, study and everything else - how do you make sure your body is getting everything it needs?
A nutritious diet is extremely important to your overall health and wellbeing; but you don’t need us to tell you that.
Without vitamins and minerals, essential bodily functions such as growth and cell production cannot take place. There’s a whopping 13 essential vitamins that your body needs regularly.
However, more than a third of adult Australians don’t meet their nutritional requirements, and a poor diet is a leading cause of chronic disease and ill health in Australia.
Or you may be part of the two thirds of Aussies who do eat a healthy diet, but could still be missing out on nutrients in your food. There a few possible reasons for this, so let’s take a look at 5 reasons you may not be getting all your nutrients from food:
1. It can be difficult to sustain a perfectly balanced diet all the time
A staggering 99% of all Australian children, and 96% of Australian adults do not eat the RDI of vegetables, and more than 80% of the population over 9 years old don’t eat enough dairy.
Without sufficient fruits, vegetables and dairy in your diet, you’re missing out on essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, C, E, zinc, calcium, magnesium, folic acid and phosphorus.
Remember the food pyramid you learned about in school? In order to get all your daily nutrients from food, you’ve got to eat varied foods from all of the 5 food groups. To jog your memory, that includes breads and cereals, fruit and vegetables, meat fish and eggs, legumes nuts and seeds, and milk, yoghurt and cheese.
This is no easy task! Life’s busy, and there will be days where you just can’t cover all 5 food groups, and this is why it’s really important to fill the ‘nutritional gaps’ with appropriate multivitamins. (alternative sentence: “this is why it’s really important to fill the ‘nutritional gaps’ with nutrients from food or supplements.”
2. It can be expensive to eat a healthy diet
It’s a commonly held belief that eating organically is better for your health.
One study found that fruits which were organically farmed contained more vitamins and antioxidants than those that were conventionally farmed.
But have you ever walked through a supermarket and noticed that the organic foods seem to be the most expensive? Well, it’s true. Organic foods almost always sell for a higher price than conventional products; as much as 80% higher for a basket of organic foods, compared to a basket of similar ‘regular’ foods.
Eating fresh healthy foods is expensive to buy and time consuming to prepare. Many people can’t afford to buy the organic foods, or are too busy to cook fresh meals all the time!
When life’s hectic, people choose simple and quick meals to prepare, or just order takeaway. And thanks to technology, it’s getting all too convenient to order food at home and ditch the home-cooked meals.
3. Food preservation processes can ruin the quality of your food
Some food preservation processes that are used to extend the shelf life of food products can have a detrimental effect on the nutrients in food.
For example, milk pasteurisation subjects the milk to high levels of heat to destroy toxins and microbes, which can cause a great loss of nutrients. The heating process involved in canning and freezing fruits and vegetables commonly removes vitamin C.
The milling process to turn wheat into flour removes a number of essential nutrients such as vitamin B6, folate, biotin, thiamin and riboflavin.
Other food processing techniques regularly include adding fats, sugars and salts which ultimately change the nutritional value and density.
4. Soil depletion can deprive plants of vital nutrients
Australian soils are not in a great state of affairs. About two-thirds of Australian agriculture land suffers from depletion of nutrients, contamination, acidification, and/or salinisation. The plants that we eat are grown in soil, and it’s the soil that supplies the vital nutrients and water that the plants need to grow.
However some farming practices, for example, mechanical drilling, actually harm certain nutrients in the soil. In this case, the fungi in the soil which is supposed to help plants obtain zinc, is harmed.
Zinc is essential for every living organism, but one-third of the world’s population suffers from zinc deficiency. Not surprisingly this is mainly in regions with zinc-deficient soils.
5. Dietary restrictions can cause nutritional deficiencies
Gluten free, paleo, keto, atkins, Whole30 and on and on the list of diets goes! Restricting caloric intake or food groups can mean depriving yourself of key nutrients. For example, a person following the paleo diet could be lacking omega-3 because they aren’t consuming key sources of omega-3 like salmon and sardines. Or similarly they may struggle to meet their calcium, iodine and zinc intake, due to the lack of dairy products in their diet.
A person on the keto diet could miss out on some of the B complex vitamins and vitamin E, iron, magnesium and zinc which come from grains and carbohydrates.
Despite knowing the importance of eating from all 5 food groups in the food pyramid, the reality is that majority of people don’t for various reasons.
There are many determinants that contribute to not getting your nutrients from food. As we’ve seen, healthy eating is expensive and time consuming and many people today are dieting in some form or another. Also, soil depletion and food preservation processes are contributing factors.
To prevent disease, ill-health and live life to the fullest, your body needs the right vitamins and minerals. For your next step in vitamin supplementation, get started on vitable.com.au and discover how to start your journey to a healthier, more energised you.