Why do we provide analysis on so many nutrients for our recipes?
It’s all about nutrition education. Let us explain.
We offer dietetic consulting from several location throughout Perth as well as online consults throughout Australia (and the world)!
We are also out in the community regularly running health and nutrition workshops to everyone from primary school kids to MP’s at Parliament House to those living below the poverty line in low socio-economic areas. We speak to everyone from all corners of the community.
We also receive referrals from over 150 medical centres throughout Western Australia. Doctors refer their patients to us for a wide range of dietary health related conditions such as diabetes, iron deficiency, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gut issues, osteoporosis, underweight, over weight & obesity, eating disorders etc.
So, on a daily basis we are speaking with a wide range of people and we know the nutrients they are deficient in. Hence, we include those nutrients in the analysis of our recipes for people to use as an educational tool to make healthier choices and to reach their health goals. Many of these deficiencies are reflective of the general Australian population.
If a teenage girl is low in iron, then she can look at one of our recipes and work out if it will help increase her iron levels or not. If someone has high blood pressure, they can assess the sodium levels. It’s the same with those who need to follow a very low sodium diet such as those with kidney disease.
We develop many of our recipes based on a health issue. For example, we see many clients who have thyroid conditions. As nutritionists and dietitians, we know which foods are good sources of micronutrients (vitamins & minerals) so we will develop a recipe that is contains good levels of iodine to help those with Hashimoto’s Disease.
Here is an overview of the micro nutrients we analyse
Calcium – This is the main nutrient found in foods that belong to the Dairy food group. Calcium is needed in the prevention of osteoporosis but is also essential for so many other functions in the body such as maintaining a healthy heart, muscles, blood and nerves. The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for most people is 1000mg per day but this can vary depending on your needs.
Iron – We see many patients who are low in iron, especially teenage girls. So much so that we have developed our own iron fact sheet with menu suggestions on how to get your RDI for iron for our patients. RDI for teenage girls is 15mg and boys is 11mg. We also see a lot of teenage girls who follow or wish to follow a plant based diet. Absorption of iron on a plant based diet is lower so their iron needs are 80% higher.
Zinc – The RDI for zinc in adult males is almost double that for females (RDI Men 14mg, women 8mg). Zinc has many important roles including sperm production which is primarily the reason why the RDI for men is higher than women. It is also essential for growth and development, immunity, neurological function and reproduction. Dietary intake of iron at levels found in some supplements can decrease zinc absorption so it’s best to get your nutrients from fresh, wholesome food. The requirement for dietary zinc may be as much as 50% greater for those who follow a plant based diet.
Magnesium – The RDI for magnesium varies greatly for all age groups and genders. Men over 31 require the highest amount of magnesium, 420mg per day. Women need 320mg per day. It is found mainly in plant based foods and has so many important functions in the body. As only 5.4% of Australians eat the recommended serves of fruit and vegetables each day we include magnesium in our analysis so our patients educate themselves on which foods are high in this mineral.
Iodine – We see many patients with thyroid issues, especially Hashimotos Disease. Iodine is a component of the thyroid hormones that regulate metabolism and is required for normal growth and other cellular processes. Dietary intake of iodine for both men and women over the age of 19 is 150ug per day. The iodine content in food can be quite low and is affected by soil quality, high rainfall, irrigation and fertilisers. Seafood and sea vegetables (seaweed) are the best source of iodine.
Vitamin A – This is the main nutrient we get from vegetables. Only 7% of adult Australians and 5% of Australian children eat sufficient amount of vegetables. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of nutrient deficient blindness in the world and as so many kids now are not eating veggies we include this to show our patients other great sources of vitamin A.
Vitamin B12 – This nutrient is almost only available in animal foods so vegetarians and especially vegans need to monitor their intake of this wonderful nutrient. 25% of our B12 intake comes from red meat and about 50% from dairy products. It is essential for normal blood and neurological function. We see many patients who follow plant based diets so this is a valuable guide for them. Often, they will require B12 supplementation.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C is the main nutrient we get from fruit and only 50.3% of Australian adults eat the recommended two serves of fruit daily. The most frequently asked question I get is “can I eat more than 2 pieces of fruit a day?” The answer is never a straight yes or no as it depends on other factors such as having diabetes. I ask people what they have for morning tea and they will often say a coffee and a muffin, or a soft drink or other food that is high in sugar. So, think about what you are eating and if a third or fourth piece of fruit is a healthier option than your coffee with two sugars and chocolate muffin. The answer, of course is “yes”. Vitamin C has so many important functions in our bodies so do yourself a favour and eat your 2 pieces of fruit each day!
If you would like to make sure you are on track with your dietary health or feel you may be deficient in certain nutrients, then come and see our Accredited Practising Dietitians. They have studied everything food and nutrition for a minimum of five years so can help you to reach your health goals and have a huge amount of resources to help you get on track.
Written by Lisa Stegena, Nutritionist
Nutrition Force is a Western Australian based company of Nutritionists and Accredited Practising Dietitians that offer weight loss programs, private dietetic consultations, children’s nutrition & dietetics, school nutrition and Corporate Wellness programs. If you would like more information on our Perth Dietitians and the other services we offer call us today on (08) 9385 7755.