Do Australians lack nutrients? What About Your child?

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When I first wrote this post in 2016, Scurvy, the disease associated with lack of vitamin C, also known as sailors’ disease, had made a come back in Australia to affect diabetic patients.There was also some research published in the US that showed that children who were presenting with suspected arthritis or extremity problems had scurvy.

Patients who have limited diets, (this included children on the autism spectrum) which lacked fruit and vegetables were more at risk. Overcooking vegetables was also a factor as it depletes them of Vit C*. Of Vit C, of course is mostly obtained through fresh fruit and vegetables (raw or slightly cooked/steamed).

Adding to this important nutrient, the 2012 Australian Food and Nutrition Survey informs us that deficiencies that may affect Australians are a lack of vit D, iodine, folic acid and iron.

So how does this translate for you and your children and how do you avoid deficiencies?

It is most likely you do not need to buy supplements over the counter, if in doubt talk to your doctor or dietitian. The key is much easier, simpler and cheaper : it about setting up some habits, that will last a lifetime!

So here’s the drill : include every day :

  • Dairy (cheese, yoghurt …)
  • Meat, poultry, fish, soy or grains/legumes
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Nuts, seeds or seasoning oils such as olive, or canola.

Now look at the meal or one-dish meal you have got together. Does it lack from the above list? Can you tweak it to make it complete?

You may also wonder where to find the nutrients the survey found lacking.

  • Vit D (sources : sun, butter, fish (tuna, mackerel, sardines, salmon, oysters, soy milk, milk, yoghurt, cheese, enriched foods, cod liver oil…).
  • Iodine (seaweed, oysters, salmon, bread -except organic-, cheddar…)
  • Folic Acid (green leafy vegetables, soy beans-edamame-, spinach, artichoke, broccoli, brussel sprouts etc) and legumes.
  • Iron, especially lacking in teenage girls and young women and important for babies form 6 months onwards, (meat products, fish, green vegetables, wholegrain, legumes). Vegans and Vegetarians take great care in making sure they get adequate amounts, and regularly measure their blood levels. Vit C is essential in helping iron absorption, whilst coffee, tea, wine reduce it.

It is hard to imagine that in a country of abundance like Australia nutritional deficiencies should occur, there are of course disparities linked to socio-economics and low income earners are more likely to get less food variety (inc. fruit and vegetables), but overall deficiencies can be avoided. Educating your children to eat complete meals, by offering them, is an excellent and easy strategy they will be able to apply throughout life.



#nutrients #nutritionaldeficiencies #children #macronutrients #micronutrients

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