Sport Nutrition: Many Canadians are not meeting daily nutrient requirements

Leslie Beck writes in the Globe & Mail on how Canadians can start doing a better job of getting the daily required amounts of calcium, magnesium, folate, potassium, iron and zinc.

We’ve heard over and over that a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes guards against many health problems including heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers, to name only a few.

These foods provide important vitamins and minerals and offer plenty of natural compounds, such as fibre and phytochemicals, which help our bodies fend off disease.

Yet, despite the wealth of science that supports the benefits of a healthy, nutrient-packed diet, many Canadians continue to shortchange themselves when it comes to vitamins and minerals.

Leslie breaks down what various nutrients do and where you can get them from:

Iron

It helps transport oxygen to cells and tissues, supports metabolism, and is used to make brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that aid in concentration. It’s also needed to manufacture many proteins and enzymes in the body.

There are two forms of iron in foods: heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron is found in all animal foods and is easily absorbed. Iron in plant foods such and legumes and green vegetables, is called non-heme iron and is less efficiently absorbed. (Adding a vitamin-C-rich food to a plant-based meal will improve the absorption of non-heme iron.

Best food sources for heme iron: beef, oysters, clams, turkey, chicken, tuna, pork loin and halibut.

For non-heme iron: Ready-to-eat breakfast cereal, instant oatmeal, soybeans, lentils, baked beans, black beans, firm tofu, cooked spinach, raisins and prune juice.

Read the full article here.

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