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.