Most people should be able to get all the vitamins and minerals they require from a healthy, balanced diet. But statistics repeatedly show swathes of the British population are not achieving the recommendations which, alongside being more active, will help you to maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. In fact, only 30 per cent of adults met the current recommendation of five portions of fruit or vegetables per day. Luckily, Boots stocks a range of vitamins and supplements to support a healthy lifestyle, and pharmacists are on hand to offer advice.
“People come to us who have a goal,” says Boots nutritionist Anna, “for example, to achieve healthier skin and nails. We can also give advice to people on medicines or with certain conditions that might need supplementation – but this will also be on the advice of your doctor.” Below, Anna suggests nine ways of boosting a healthy diet with vitamins and supplements.
Eat more oily fish
A recent survey by Public Health England revealed consumption of oily fish is well below the recommended portion per week, and that 23 per cent of adults aged 19 to 64, and 22 per cent of children between 11 and 18 had low vitamin D. This increased to 40 per cent for both in the winter months. In addition, 46 per cent of girls and 23 per cent of women didn’t eat enough iron.
Limit the sugar in your diet
It’s important that we should limit our intake of sugary foods, and bear in mind that some foods such as yogurt, wholegrain breakfast cereals, fruit and fruit juice are rich in other nutrients. Plenty of fruit and vegetables – at least five portions of a variety of fruit and veg a day.
Go for protein-rich items
Some protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, eggs, beans and non-dairy sources of protein, such as nuts and pulses.
Stock up on foods which boost your immune system
Fortified breakfast cereals are a really good source of iron, zinc, B vitamins and vitamin D which are important for the health our immune systems. At this time of year, taking additional vitamin C, zinc and Echinacea may help to support your immune system. Also, during the month of December, when we might be more prone to burning the candle at both ends, B vitamins can help support general energy levels.
Get advice deciding on a supplement
Whether it would be beneficial to take a supplement, and which one to choose, can be a minefield, especially because there are so many different types on the market. Remember that your local Boots pharmacist is available in store to offer advice at any point, particularly if you wish to combine any products.
Pick lots of starchy foods
Items such as rice, bread, pasta and potatoes – choosing wholegrain varieties when possible.
Dare to try dairy
The government recommends everyone consumes a diet that contains some milk and dairy because it is needed for a balanced diet. Reduced-fat versions are available