These days we are so bombarded with information about what to eat and how to be healthy that it can be difficult to find a reliable source of nutritional information. For those of us who live in Wandsworth, Dandelion on the Northcote Road used to offer invaluable in-house health advice, but sadly, this wonderful local institution has now closed. So to whom do we turn now, where’s our go-to for nutritional advice?
All is not lost! Cytoplan, the UK’s leading provider of Food State™ and wholefood supplements is offering NVN readers a free online health questionnaire which can help time-poor Mums and Dads determine what their family’s nutritional needs are. You can now tap into the best nutrition advice from your own home.
Cytoplan is also giving NVN readers 30% off their first order, using the code GA30, so you too can give yourself a much needed health boost this winter.
Here, while no one size fits all when it comes to nutrition, Cytoplan’s Managing Director and nutrition expert, Amanda Williams shares some top tips on what families need to consider for optimum nutrition:
1. Which supplements do pregnant women and those trying to conceive need to consider?
First and foremost, your diet should be optimal at least three months pre-conception for both parents-to-be. The best diet is one that incorporates as many wholefoods as possible, is high in vegetables, low glycaemic fruit and good quality proteins. Ideally you would avoid processed food and alcohol.
At least 8 weeks before planned conception both parents should take a good multi-vitamin formula and some essential fatty acid. Most important for Dad-to-be is to have a good intake of zinc and selenium, this aids the health and motility of sperm. We would recommend Cytoplan’s Wholefood Multi and Omega 3 vegan or Krill oil.
Mum-to-be must have folic acid and folate @400ug/day to prevent the risk of neural tube defects. This MUST be started well before planned pregnancy. Methyl folate is the best form of folic acid. We would recommend Cytoplan’s Pregna Plan and Omega 3 vegan or Krill oil.
2. What do you recommend for kids under 5 years, particularly the fussy-eaters?
Cytoplan’s chewable multivitamin, Nutri Bears, is a vitamin and mineral-enriched wholefood jelly that is easy to take and helps give parents peace of mind that the child is getting a good level of important nutrients that could be missing from the diet of a fussy eater. Omega 3 vegan or a few drops of LemO3 fish oil would also be helpful additions. During winter months, adding Kids’ Immunovite capsules – miniature capsules designed to be easily swallowed whole – will help protect against colds/coughs and flu.
3. What would you recommend to tired-out mums and dads looking to boost their energy-levels?
Reduced energy levels can be attributed to a variety of reasons which would be need to be explored in each individual case, however some of the chief culprits are B vitamins and Magnesium – or the lack of! If it is a simple case of just giving that extra energy ‘boost’, I would recommend our Super B Extra, one of our most popular products, this also contains good levels of Magnesium.
4. What are the key vitamins and minerals that teenagers need to be getting? Are their nutritional needs different from those of younger children?
All things being equal (i.e. in an ideal world and perfect dietary intake) all age groups pretty much need the same nutrients but with weight related pro rata increases as they age.
Teenage girls however have a greater need for iron (although research shows that young pre-school children and those between the ages of 4-8 are also very depleted in iron!) Iron is an important mineral for growth.
Good fats (Essential Fatty Acids) most particularly GLA, Omega 3 and 9, are often found to be deficient in teenagers. Essentially Fatty Acids have anti-inflammatory properties and are important for cognitive development and brain function – also for helping to balance hormones, prevent depression and acne, etc.
Teenagers need to be looking at a really good diet with plenty of fresh and colourful vegetables, some fruit, and good quality protein and good fats – topped up with a good multi vitamin and Essential Fatty Acid supplement. Choose those designed to make up for any dietary shortfalls or extra needs that sudden growth spurts or exam stress or heavy exercise might cause, with nutrients in the same form as those in food. These will always be safe and effective.
5. Is it possible to get all the nutrients we need from a balanced and varied diet alone?
Tom Saunders, Professor of Nutrition at Kings College said a few years ago – that no it was not possible. There are many reasons for this but the following reasons are the most significant:
- Our physiology evolved in hunter gather times when man was an active being, ingesting 5,000 calories/day from nutrient dense food. We are far more sedentary now, even children, eating less, but needing the same level of micronutrients for metabolic activity. Hence immediately there is a gap in terms of nutrients needed for health and those being ingested.
- The food of today has a lower vitamin and mineral content that that of bygone years. Data from Government scientists who analyzed fresh grown foods in 1960 and 1990 found that fresh vegetables and meats were increasingly loosing mineral content. On average there was a 60% reduction in most key minerals. Modern agriculture, food transport miles, false ripening are all part of the problem.
- The world of today gives humans increased needs for certain nutrients – antioxidants, B vitamins and magnesium to help cope with life in the fast lane.
- It might at a pinch be possible to get all we need from food alone – but it would be difficult and require inordinate resourcefulness. Since the prime use of nutrients is for immediate needs – i.e. energy, metabolism – if we are short it means less go into protective resources for times of need – so we might find out too late we are short of key nutrients that will help us overcome illness or injury. Supplementing at a level to make up for known and likely shortfalls gives that extra layer of protection and is also 100% safe.
For more information, visit www.cytoplan.co.uk or call the team on 01684310099. Don’t forget to use the special code GA30 for 30% off your first order.