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vitamin D

In order for your body to function healthy, you need to make sure you're consuming the right amount of essential vitamins in your everyday diet. 

And just so you know, your beloved chicken-and-broccoli Chinese take-away platter at 1.45am does not suffice!

So if you're not 100 percent SURE you're meeting your daily requirements of these vitamins; here's a list of red flags you need to look out for.

 

Signs you need:

Vitamin A

  • Dry eyes
  • Scaling skin
  • Dry hair
  • Poor night-time vision

Vitamin A encourages healthy cell production and heals wounds, as well as boosting your immune system.

 

Vitamin C

  • Impaired wound healing
  • Prone to bruising
  • Nosebleeds
  • Bleeding gums

Vitamin C has an antioxidant that protects against illnesses such as heart disease and asthma.

 

Vitamin D

  • Softened bones
  • Infectious to diseases like the flu

There are no clear signs of vitamin D deficiency, however, being out in the sunlight, eating enough almonds and fatty fish are certainly a great start.

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The 5:2; Dukan; Atkins, and juice-detoxes – there always seems to be a diet craze of sorts on offer.

But it can be hard to keep track of what foods we actually need in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Most of us are seriously lacking in the likes of fibre and potassium things that are vital for our health. In fact, the Irish Nutrition And Dietetic Institute tells us that women need at least 24g of fibre every day, while the recommended amount of potassium is 4.7g.

Here, we detail five key nutrients that we all need in our diets – as well as some tasty foods where we can find them:

1. Fibre is an absolute necessity in our diet. It is essential for aiding digestion and keeping everything moving.

Where to get it? Some great sources of fibre are black beans (why not try making homemade burritos?), pears, raspberries and sweet potatoes.

2. Potassium is usually ignored when people are thinking about what they need in their diet, but it is actually the nutrient that keeps our hearts beating… who knew!

Where to get it? Bananas are loaded with potassium so grabbing one on your way to work in the mornings will get your day off to a good start. Baked potatoes with the skin, beetroot, and spinach are also great sources of potassium.

3. Vitamin D is best gotten from sunlight but thanks to our ever-frustrating Irish weather it’s very unlikely that many of us are producing the necessary amount.

Where to get it? Fish such as smoked salmon and tuna are a great source of vitamin D. Or, a very easy way to get your recommended daily allowance is by drinking fortified milk and fortified orange juice, or eating fortified cereal.

4. Iron is extremely important in the diet. A lot of women who suffer with general fatigue are not getting enough and because of our periods we need more iron in our diets than men. Vegetarian and vegan diets are especially difficult to maintain a sufficient intake of iron.

Where to get it? Great vegetable sources of iron are broccoli, edamame, lentils, spinach and cashews. But a beef steak is still the best way of boosting your iron intake as the type of iron in red meats is more easily absorbed by the body.

5. Calcium is crucial in maintaining healthy bones and preventing blood clots.

Where to get it? Kale, cabbage and broccoli are some of the best sources of calcium, as are low fat cheese, milk and yoghurt.

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Kellogg’s has unveiled the first ever weather powered vending machine dispensing free samples of vitamin D fortified Kellogg’s cereals so that consumers can still get Vitamin D even when it’s cloudy.

Our body creates most of our vitamin D from direct sunlight on our skin but when it’s cloudy we need another solution.

The Kellogg’s vending machine only works when cloud cover is at its highest, blocking our exposure to sunshine and therefore reducing our chances of naturally absorbing Vitamin D.

 

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New research published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, has found that people who suffer from a vitamin D deficiency, are twice as likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Scientists found that 65% of participants who were schizophrenic, were also deficient in Vitamin D.

Schizophrenia is more common in countries with cold climates, as the skin produces Vitamin D after exposure to sunlight.

Dr Ahmad Esmaillzadeh, one of the research authors said: “Our findings support the theory that vitamin D may have a significant impact on psychiatric health. More research is needed to determine how the growing problem of vitamin D deficiency may be affecting our overall health.”

You can get your vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, supplements and foods such as cod liver oil, fish and eggs.

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Sunshine is the best way to get Vitamin D but unfortunately the sun rarely shines on our lovely green isle.

However, while the sun plays hide and seek with us, there are plenty of other ways to stock up on this essential vitamin.

Eat fish
Stock your cupboards with tins of salmon and tuna. You don’t have to eat them every day but try to have a fish dinner maybe once or twice a week

Have a few mushrooms
Portobello and shiitake mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D and are really nice in a stew or risotto.

Cod liver oil
It’s true – things that are good for you are normally not particularly nice. However, use this sparingly as it contains high levels of vitamin A that is not good for you.

Have cereal for your breakfast
Most cereals are fortified with vitamins, including vitamin D, and you can even increase your intake by using a milk that is fortified with it too.

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