No matter which kind of diet or food philosophy you adhere to, you probably know that there are a handful of key nutrients that your body needs in order to stay healthy. It’s not possible for your body to synthesize adequate amounts of these nutrients on its own, which is why it’s so important to make sure that your diet is providing enough of each of these nutrients every day.
Carbohydrates are plentiful in most people’s diets, but many of us aren’t getting enough complex carbohydrates. Instead, we often rely on simple carbohydrates that spike our blood sugar. This ultimately leads to blood sugar “crashes,” which cause unpleasant fatigue, irritability, brain fog, and headaches. Choosing to consume foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, and legumes, that contain complex carbohydrates will fill you up faster and give you a steady amount of energy throughout the day.
If you’re not sure whether a food item contains complex carbohydrates or not, you can look it up on the glycemic index. The lower it is on the index, the more likely it contains complex carbohydrates, instead of simple carbohydrates.
Many people are nervous about adding fats into their diets, but the truth is that your body needs adequate amounts of healthy fat in order to function properly. In fact, healthy fat is an essential nutrient for proper brain and nervous system functioning. They key to adding fats to your diet is to make sure that you’re adding healthy fats, such as Essential Fatty Acids, while avoiding unhealthy fats, such as trans fats.
When you’re adding healthy fats into your diet, look for the essential fatty acids Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9. These can mainly be found in fish, nuts, and seeds. If you find that you are getting most of your essential fatty acids from fish, make sure that you’re consuming fish that is low in mercury.
There are 9 essential amino acids that your diet needs to provide in order to keep you healthy, and eating protein is the best way to ensure that your body is receiving these essential amino acids. Meat provides one of the most complete protein sources; so, if you regularly eat meat then you’re probably consuming all the necessary amino acids.
But, fortunately for vegans and vegetarians, it’s also possible to meet your nutritional needs with plant-based protein. Furthermore, plant-based protein sources are typically less inflammatory than animal-based protein, meaning that even non-vegetarians may want to consider adding more plant-based protein into their diets. They key to consuming enough nutrients in a plant-based diet is to eat a wide variety of foods that, when combined, contain all the essential amino acids.
High-Potency Vitamins and Minerals
If possible, it is best to get vitamins and minerals from whole food sources. Consuming food-based vitamins and minerals makes it easy for your body to absorb these essential nutrients.
Nevertheless, for many of us, our modern diets make it difficult to meet our vitamin and mineral requirements through food alone. If you want to ensure that you’re taking in enough nutrients, or if your doctor has suggested that you may have a vitamin or mineral deficiency, then you might want to consider taking a high-potency multivitamin.
Here are some common vitamins and minerals to pay attention to in your diet:
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is essential for immune function. Most people aren’t deficient in this vitamin, but supplementing Vitamin C when you are sick can boost your immune system.
- B-Complex Vitamins are often consumed via animal sources. If you are vegan, then you’ll likely need to supplement B-Vitamins.
- Iron is a mineral that is essential in helping the blood carry oxygen to the body. Many women are iron-deficient, which can lead to fatigue and other health problems.
- Vitamin D can be synthesized internally following sun exposure. However, since many of us regularly wear sunscreen, it’s often helpful to take a Vitamin D supplement.
- Vitamin E is an antioxidant that is beneficial in keeping skin healthy. Vitamin E can be found in nuts and vegetable oils.
- Zinc is a mineral that is important for immune function. Beef, organ meats, and seeds are all great sources of zinc.
- Calcium is well-known for its importance in building bone strength. Aside from dairy products, calcium can be found in nuts, seeds, and leafy greens.
You undoubtedly consume water on a daily basis, as it’s impossible to survive without regular water intake. However, it’s important to be sure that you’re drinking filtered water, and that you’re doing your best to avoid sugary drinks that provide empty calories and can lead to blood sugar spikes. In addition, as you probably know, it’s important to drink water regularly throughout the day, even if you’re not necessarily feeling thirsty at the time. If you’re not drinking enough water throughout the day, you may experience unpleasant symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, dry eyes, and even headaches.
Whenever possible, it’s important to do your best to try to find the highest quality nutrients available. This typically means consuming nutrients from local, whole food sources that have been grown using organic farming methods. Paying attention to the quality of your food will ensure that your diet is providing you with the highest possible nutritional value.
If you’re interested in learning more about how your diet can contribute to your overall health, please visit our website or contact us.