Those multivitamin supplements you’re taking may not have the effect you’re hoping for, says Jayda Siggers, a nutrition consultant and owner of Eat Whole, Be Vital, in Ottawa.
In fact, sometimes, the vitamin component within the supplement is in a form your body can’t fully absorb. This problem is compounded with multivitamins that provide small amounts of what doctors recommend.
So, if a supplement promises 20% of your recommended daily intake, the reality is that it might be less than that because your body can’t utilize it, says Siggers.
But by incorporating nutritious foods into your diet, you access their full health benefits. Nevertheless, you must be aware that it’s possible to overconsume a nutrient if your diet is nutrient-heavy and you’re also taking powerful supplements. That should be done under the supervision of a doctor, she says.
If you’re looking stay healthy by way of food, here are some nutrients to look for when having a snack at the office:
> Vitamin A
Do you want to maintain proper vision, healthy skin and an effective immune system? If so, then Vitamin A contributes to these processes.
Some great foods for workplace snacking that contain Vitamin A are eggs, carrots, cantaloupe and goji berries. Another good source is a sweet potato. You can incorporate this root vegetable into your lunch by pureeing it. This snack option is more popular with kids than with adults, says Siggers, but don’t dismiss it. Pureed sweet potatoes are actually a go-to snack for many endurance athletes.
> Vitamin D
Another contributor to a healthy immune system is Vitamin D, which is also important for maintaining stable blood pressure and heart health.
Thanks to Canadian health regulation, all dairy milk is fortified with Vitamin D, Siggers points out. And the popularity of non-dairy milk has led to many of those products being fortified as well.
If you’re not a fan of milk, this is another reason to bring hard-boiled eggs to work.
Zinc is another friend to the immune system and assists in maintaining healthy teeth and bones as well as contributing to staying emotionally balanced, Siggers says.
“A lot of studies have shown that many people with diagnosed mental disorders such as depression are low in zinc,” she explains. “It is thought that by increasing your zinc [intake], that could be beneficial [to mental health].”
Zinc is found in nuts such as cashews, pecans and almonds as well as in eggs and chickpeas.
If you’re looking for a new snack idea, add roasted chickpeas to your nut mix, Siggers suggests. You can season them depending on your taste preferences. For example, add maple syrup for a sweet flavour or chili flakes for a spicy tang.
Try your best to add magnesium-rich foods to your diet because we don’t get enough of this mineral, according to Siggers.
Magnesium and calcium are ingested by the same receptors in our bodies, she says. And because we consume so much calcium, that mineral tends to be absorbed much more than magnesium.
Magnesium helps regulate blood sugar and blood pressure. It’s also a muscle relaxant, which is why magnesium-rich snacks are a good addition to your evening routine.
“It will actually help you sleep better at night, which is important for people who have stressful jobs and maybe don’t sleep as well as they should,” Siggers says.
So, have a serving of nuts, such as peanuts, almonds or hazelnuts as a late night snack.