Eating food isn’t just about energy, carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Food is about enjoyment, and fun, and celebration. But at a smaller level, what makes up food does play an important role in how our body functions each day, from each second to the next year. Food is made up of smaller parts known as the micronutrients, which are the vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and sterols to name a few. These micronutrients play an important role in how our cells function, which works from a cell level all the way up to assisting the control of our muscles and what builds our bones.
Many vitamins and minerals are bundled up inside of multivitamins which you can purchase, but what is available in these tablets in not always what the body needs (which can result in weeing most of the water-soluble nutrients out), so it is worthwhile to get a dietitian to have a look at what you are eating to determine what kind of nutrient supplementation you may need. Foods are able to provide all the nutrients you need, but sometimes they can become imbalanced based on what you eat.
An important nutrient that often is not consumed in adequate quantities is omega-3, which is available in a variety of plants and animal foods. The body is unable to make omega-3 oils, which is why it is of such importance to consume these through food. Omega-3 has an important role in brain function, growth and development, reduce inflammation, and may help lower the risk of some chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. People who do not eat fish and seafood, vegetarians, and vegans can often struggle to consume sufficient omega-3, but there are alternative sources available.
- Fish – this is the richest source of omega-3 available, and the type of fish can provide very different amounts of omega-3. Oily fish, such as mackerel, sardines, and salmon are very rich sources.
- Walnuts – a 30g serving provides over the daily recommended intake of plant based omega-3.
- Chia-seeds – for a 15g serving, this provides more than 2 times the recommended daily intake.
- Flaxseed/linseed seeds or oil – both the seeds and oils are great sources of omega-3 fats.
- Olive oil, canola oil, soybean oil – be mindful of your serving size.
- Poly- or monounsaturated spreads – the combination of seeds and oils give these spreads omega-3 content.
- Soy and linseed bread.
There are a variety of other plant based foods which provide omega-3 oils, and if you are concerned about your intake, book an appointment with a dietitian today.