If you’ve ever looked in depth and the sheer number of nutrients, vitamins and minerals your body requires to function to its full potential, it can be quite overwhelming, you can often wonder how it is possible to take all of those different things in through your diet. Many foods have vast numbers of vitamins and mineral in them, so you aren’t taking one at a time in eat time you eat an item of food. For example, lets take chicken, this contains riboflavin, niacin, biotin, pantothenic acid, B6, B12, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Then if you have some broccoli with your chicken you are also getting Calcium, Iron, Phosphorous, Potassium, Zinc, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamins A, B6, B12, D, E and K and Folate. So just by eating chicken and broccoli you have taken in a total of 24 vitamins and minerals.
Variety is the spice of life
The main problem arises when your diet consists of the same food’s day in day out, or foods that have little to no nutritional value. For example, white bread, a very satisfying thing to eat, a comfort food, but not very good for your body and most people aren’t short of carbohydrates in their diet. Even people who have a healthy diet but just eat the same things each day can struggle. If you were to eat chicken and broccoli on a daily basis you would be lacking other things like omega-3 fatty acids that you find in egg or salmon. It’s therefore essential that rather than worrying about how healthy what you are eating is, think about variety in your diet. Aim to have fish, meat, vegetables, fruit and some dairy, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring you have everything you need.
Try the specialist foods and drinks out there
In order to help you along the way there are quite a range of ‘superfoods’ and drinks that are designed to help you take in some of the things you may struggle to get in your diet without needing to take supplements like vitamins with B12, a common deficiency for vegans. One of the most popular, yet controversial items are probiotics. A probiotic helps you balance the bacteria in your gut, improving digestion and stopping bad bacteria getting out of control. Think of your gut like an ecosystem in itself, it is filled with both good and bad bacteria and when the bad bacteria gets out of control it makes you sick, you therefore need to add the good bacteria in to fight it and regain equilibrium.
The controversy comes when you look act the probiotics that you can drink, many studies have been done into these and there are mixed results. Despite companies advertising that trillions of live bacteria are in their drinks, scientists how found that the vast majority (and in some cases, all) of the good bacteria is dead by the time it even reaches your gut because first of all it is has to pass through your stomach which is filled with acid.
Vary your diet & supplement if needed
In summary, just ensure you have a varied, balanced diet and you won’t go too far wrong. Tests can be done to look in to any deficiencies you may have and then you can just supplement those individually.