Unfortunately due to diminished soil quality, food processing and cooking methods, modern diets can be lacking in key elements including omega 3 fats, calcium, iron, zinc and iodine.
Omega 3 Fat
Not only are Omega 3 fats generally lacking in our diets, Omega 6 fats are excessive, a combination of which has an adverse effect on our cellular health. The ideal ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 is 1:1 although up to 1:4 is acceptable. The ratio currently however, is about 1:60 for most people. Start with increasing your Omega 3 intake by eating more fresh oily fish such as salmon (preferably not farmed), ideally 3 times per week.
Calcium is essential for the proper development of bones and teeth as well as good nerve, muscle and heart function. In order to get adequate calcium in your diet, you should be having 3 – 4 serves of dairy per day. This can easily be achieved with various yoghurts and milk but for those that do not want to increase their dairy intake, be sure to gain calcium from other sources such as broccoli, tofu, almonds, spinach, pears and beans.
Iron is important for the transport of oxygen around the body. Approximately one-third of women do not receive the recommended daily intake of iron, which can lead to fatigue and a susceptibility to infection. Red meat is an excellent source or iron and 60-100 grams, 3-4 times per week is ideal. Other sources of iron include eggs, beans and leafy green vegetables.
Zinc is crucial for cell development, sexual function and immune function. Foods including red meat, shell fish, wholegrain bread, seeds and beans are richer in zinc than most foods.
Iodine deficiency has become common amongst Australians in recent times. Low iodine can be linked to poor brain development in the womb as well as in children, and can also impact on cognitive function in adults. Although our bodies do not need a lot of iodine, we also cannot store iodine for long periods of time so we need to eat small amounts regularly. The best source of iodine is seafood, especially prawns, shellfish and mussels.