We all know that a balanced, healthy diet requires essential nutrients, such as fibre, calcium and iron. But which foods give us these nutrients and how much do we need? Here's a quick guide.
Eating fibre is a great way to lower the risks associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and perhaps even bowel cancer. Women require around 25g of dietary fibre a day, while 30g is recommended for men. Unfortunately, most Australians eat less than this.
To get more fibre, it's advised that you eat at least two serves of wholemeal or wholegrain foods daily. A good guide is to take half of your daily intake of bread and cereals as wholegrain or wholemeal. Also, eat two serves of fruit a day and five of vegetables – including pulses or legumes, such as peas, broadbeans, kidney beans and lentils.
Iron does a lot of good work in the body, particularly transporting oxygen in the blood, maintaining our immune system and making us feel more energetic. But our bodies absorb only a small percentage of the iron in the foods we eat. For females over 50 and all adult males, the recommended dietary intake is 8mg a day, but females aged 18-50 require 18mg, and pregnant women up to 27mg.
Good sources of iron include red meat, liver, dried fruit and leafy green vegetables – such as broccoli, silverbeet, spinach and Asian greens.
Good bones and teeth need calcium to stay strong, and not only for growing children. The Dieticians Association of Australia says calcium needs may increase for adults in later years (i.e. women over 50 and men over 70).
Dairy is the easiest source, which includes reduced-fat versions, with a recommended daily intake of two to four servings. A serving can be 250ml of milk, 40g of cheese or 200g of yoghurt.
For those who don't eat dairy, plant-based sources include calcium-fortified soy, rice or other cereal drinks, brazil nuts, almonds, tahini, and dark-green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, bok choy and kale.
This article was supplied by Australia's leading retirement website YourLifeChoices