Need a nutrient kick? Try this before hitting the supplements
‘7 Nutrients Your Diet May Be Missing.’ ‘Are You Missing These 9 Essential Nutrients?’ ‘11 Signs You Might Not Be Getting All the Nutrients You Need.’
Does this sound familiar?
Every day we’re bombarded by marketing and advertising messages suggesting we’re not getting enough minerals and nutrients in our diet. And what’s the solution? A vitamin pill, being sold by the very advertiser or marketer claiming that this is the single missing ingredient that could change your life.
A pill may seem like the quickest and easiest solution, and even a necessary one, depending on your condition. However, in most cases, popping a pill when you have not been medically urged to do so is a Band-Aid that doesn’t address the underlying issue: there may be imbalances in your daily diet. Not to mention that solving everything with a pill is a bit dull and boring!
While taking a supplement means there’s one less thing we have to worry about and we can just get on with our lives, the flip side is that this solution means we miss out on an important aspect of life – exploring new experiences, which includes, well, eating.
So here’s something to consider – if we do happen to be nutritionally deficient, before it becomes a serious health issue, why not make the process of correcting the imbalance more holistic and fun by sourcing those nutrients from natural foods first? We have to feed ourselves anyway, so why not make it a bit more exciting while we’re at it? Not only will we be satisfying our need to feed, but we’ll also be healing our bodies naturally at the same time!
The key, according to public health experts, is to eat a range of foods so that we’re getting nutrients from a wide variety of sources, because different foods provide different types and amounts of key nutrients.
If you’re keen to embark on this new food adventure, here are some suggestions to make the whole experience more enjoyable and a little less daunting:
Start slow and small – Introduce new foods over time. Unless your doctor advises you to do so, going all out too fast could be too much for your body to handle on short notice. Sudden and drastic changes to any part of your lifestyle, if not managed properly, can end up being too disruptive and may result in overall failure and disappointment.
Fresh is best – Wherever possible and practical, aim for fresh over processed foods. But if you can’t avoid packaged options, that’s ok! There’s no need to feel bad about it – you’re normal, like the rest of us. You can still make the most out of every situation by following the next tip.
Don’t ignore the labels – Sometimes, you can’t get fresh so you need to choose the next best available option. If it happens to be a bit processed, that’s fine. Just take the time to read the ingredient and nutrition labels before putting it in the shopping basket. You’d be surprised at how spending an extra minute scrutinising the labels of two seemingly similar products could mean the world of difference for your body nutritionally.
Nutrients over calories – When deciding on which foods to eat, consider the nutrients they pack first before considering the number of calories they deliver. Often we tend to worry more about the latter when the former is what should be top of mind when making food decisions. For example, while an avocado is often considered to be very high in calories, it is, however, rich in fibre and healthy fats while being low in sugar and sodium. So even though it may seem “fattier”, it’s the good fats that our bodies need to stay healthy, not to mention a whole host of other beneficial nutrients and minerals that we’ll also be getting at the same time.
In short, if you are worried about your nutrient intake, start with fresh whole foods before splurging on the latest vitamin pill. You might be surprised by the difference it makes!
Department of Health & Human Services. "Food Variety and a Healthy Diet." Better Health Channel. January 26, 2015. Accessed September 23, 2018. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/food-variety-and-a-healthy-diet.
"Nutritional Information." About Avocados | Australian Avocados. Accessed September 23, 2018. http://australianavocados.com.au/nutritional-information.