We get the essential vitamins and nutrients our bodies need from eating a healthy, balanced diet. This means eating a variety of foods from the five main food groups; carbohydrates, protein, milk and dairy products, fruit and vegetables and fats and sugars. For this reason, when we diet or cut out certain foods we may need to look for alternate foods to provide the vitamins and/or minerals that we may be missing out on or alternatively look to supplement to avoid vitamin deficiency.
Found only in oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks, some fortified breakfast cereals, orange juice and fat spreads, vitamin D can be hard to get from diet alone. Our bodies can, however, create vitamin D from direct sunlight, although this can be difficult in winter months when days are shorter and darker. As vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body1 it is needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.Public Health England recommends that everyone in the UK over the age of four considers taking a daily supplement.
Omega-3 fatty acids
As our only source is food, most Westerners have low Omega-3 levels2.
As well as vitamin D, oily fish like mackerel, salmon, trout, whitebait, crab and sardines, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, but we need to be eating at least two portions of fish a week, one which should be oily fish (140 g) as per Department of Health recommendation, to get the health benefits. It’s worth noting this can be canned as long as the omega-3 hasn’t been removed during the manufacturing process.
No matter your age, calcium is essential for bone health. If we don’t have enough calcium in our diets our body will take it from our bones. Milk, yogurt and cheese are all good sources of calcium and adults (19-64 years) need 800mg of calcium a day5.
If you’re concerned your diet isn’t providing you with enough nutrients and minerals visit your GP for advice or talk to a registered dietitian.