Feeling depleted at midlife? Nutritional deficiency is currently at an all-time high.
There are 6 crucial nutrients that the body needs to be healthy. I think of the body as a house, you can’t build a house without a solid foundation and you can’t have true health without optimising all these nutrients. The 6 crucial building blocks of the body include water, fats, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Each of these building blocks is non-negoitable, we need them ALL if we want good health. And they are all as important as each other.
Let's chat about why most women in midlife have multiple nutrient deficiencies and what we can do to correct this.
1. Our modern agricultural methods. These deplete nutrients, downgrade the soil quality, and disrupt the water cycle. Plants get their nutrients from the soil and animals get their nutrients from the plants, but if the soil is of poor quality in the first place then they all miss out. Overall there is roughly a 30% reduction in nutrient levels from our commercially grown food now compared to the 1940s.
2. We have more issues with Environmental pollutants, such as heavy metals and these compete for mineral absorption. eg lead competes with calcium, mercury with selenium, and zinc...
3 Some women are on restrictive diets for far too long. Take the FODMAPs diet as an example it's designed to be restrictive for a short period of time to provide relief and give the digestive system time to heal but many women who start these kinds of diets remain on them for longer than ideal and end up missing out on many nutrients.
4. Many women are overconsuming ultra-processed foods. These foods fill us up and contributing to weight gain while lacking in nutrients to provide us with any health benefits.
5. The health of the digestive system itself makes a big difference, as inflammatory digestive disorders reduce the body's ability to absorb nutrients from food so does having a digestive infection like Helicobacter pylori or taking acid-reducing medications such as proton pump inhibitors.
6. We have forgotten the art of food preparation, such as sprouting, soaking, or fermenting foods. This reduces the amount of anti-nutrient food substances found in plant-based foods. Take Phytic acid as an example, it's found in whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. when consumed it binds to minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron to create phytates. Humans don’t have the enzymes to break phytates down, so these minerals are lost to us. other examples of anti-nutritive food components include goitrogens which are found in cruciferous vegetables and prevent the absorption of iodine, lectins are found in legumes and wholegrain and interfere with the absorption of calcium, iron, and zinc. Oxalates are found in kale and other green leafy vegetables, tea, beans, nuts, and these bind to calcium, tannins found in tea, coffee, and legumes can decrease iron absorption and saponins found in legumes and wholegrain also interfere with nutrient absorption.
So you can see it's easy to become nutrient deficient and why most people don’t have single deficiencies but instead, they are missing out on multiple vital nutrients. it actually takes a concerted effort to be nutrient replete.
But it is possible so here are a few tips that can help you top up all your nutrient levels.