One of my philosophies is to think nutrients not fat or calories. Why? Because not all calories are equal and not all fat is the same. Fat is good for you, you need essential fat for every cell in your body and the body can’t make this, it can only come from your diet. Take an avocado for example, one of my favourite foods, that many people avoid because of the fat content. An avocado not only contains essential fats but is full of nutrients too (I usually have one a day!). Vitamins and minerals are essential for all bodily processes, your body needs them to function properly. So start thinking nutrients, look at your plate at breakfast, dinner and lunch and ask yourself ‘am I getting the nutrients my body needs?’
Here are 10 tips for getting more nutrients into your diet every single day.
Depending on the type of seeds you use, they’re high in either omega 3 or omega 6 essential fats, they also contain other beneficial nutrients too. For example linseeds (also know as flax seeds) contain omega 3 fatty acids along with iron, magnesium and calcium. So add seeds to everything, on top of your porridge, in your muesli, to your salad, even add to your omelette or scrambled eggs. I also add them on top of my soup. There isn’t anything you can’t add seeds to! My favourite seeds are chia, linseeds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
Use herbs and spices.
Herbs and spices not only make food taste delicious they’re full of nutrients and often have other benefits as well. Turmeric for example contains antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory too. Add herbs to salads and salad dressings, add some spices to spinach, use mint in your morning smoothie and even try turmeric tea.
In my world avocado goes with everything and there’s hardly a day that goes by that I don’t have an avocado. Avocado is full of lovely good fat, plus vitamin E, folic acid, B vitamins and vitamin C. I have avocado on toast, I have it with my eggs, I make guacamole and I add it to smoothies.
Have a smoothie
Talking of smoothies! A smoothie is a great way to get a punch of nutrients, have a smoothie for breakfast or as an afternoon snack. Try my go-to-berry smoothie or my favourite green smoothie. By the way green smoothies are best, more nutrients and less sugar (depending on the recipe).
Have a juice
Juicing gets mixed press purely because of the high sugar content in juices. By juicing you remove the fibre from the fruits and vegetables which means your body absorbs the sugars more quickly. I, however, am a fan of juicing, purely because I’ve experienced the health benefits first hand. By juicing and removing the fibre, it gives your digestive system a break, it’s easier for your body to absorb the nutrients and you can get a good punch of nutrients. Follow the rule of one fruit only per juice and lots of vegetables. One of my favourites is cucumber, courgette and pear. By the way I don’t mean shop bought, packed juices here, fresh juices only.
Eat the rainbow
Eating a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables maximises the nutrients you get because all fruits and vegetables have different nutrients, the more colours the more nutrients.
Eat locally and seasonally.
These days you can get fruits and vegetables all year round but there’s a price to pay. Travelling depletes the nutrients in food. Ideally you want to eat food that’s freshly picked, the longer it’s been picked and the further it has to travel the less nutrients the food will have by the time it reaches your plate. Try your local health food shop, farm shop or box delivery like Abel and Cole or Riverford.
Have fruit or vegetables (or both!) with every meal
Always make sure you have fruit or vegetables with every meal, and you want to aim high on the vegetable portions! Add spinach and roasted tomatoes to your scrambled eggs in the morning, have a butternut squash and sweet potato soup for lunch and pack out your dinner with veggies. And it doesn’t have to be boring, use lots of flavour like garlic, spices and herbs. I’ve also got a little obsession with adding spinach to everything at the moment, pancakes, smoothies, eggs, lots of nutrients and it doesn’t impact the flavour of what you’re making.
How you cook matters
Using a microwave for example destroys nutrients, so avoid using a microwave where possible. Very high temperatures can destroy nutrients too so go for gentle cooking and with vegetables the crunchier the better to preserve nutrients. Steaming and poaching are the best ways to cook vegetables, fish and meat. You can also try steam-frying, where you use water instead of oil in a frying pan to gentle cook the vegetables.
Take your supplements
I’m definitely a food-first kind of girl, I believe in getting your diet right first and then introducing supplements. Any supplement programme should be tailored to you, we’re all different and need different vitamins and minerals depending on what’s going on with our health. The quality of the supplements you buy is also important, this is definitely a case of you pay for what you get. I take a multivitamin, vitamin D, omega 3 and probiotic every day. I’d always recommend seeing a qualified nutritional therapist to tailor a programme for you.
Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it
Heather Morgan, MS, MLC
Sources and references
McCance & Widdowson (2015) Composition of foods integrated dataset (CoFID)
Thibodeau G & Patton K (2003) Anatomy & Physiology (5th edition) Missouri: Mosby
The material on this blog is provided for information only and must not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this publication; readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and wellbeing. The blog is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Nicky Duffell.