Four Key Nutrients to Check in Your 20s
Your twenties can be a time of partying, playing hard and putting in the hard work in your first full time job. Nutrition is essential for optimal health and during your twenties there are certain nutrients which become especially important.
B vitamins are needed to make energy from the food you eat. There are 8 B vitamins:
B%: Pantothenic acid
B9: Folate/Folic Acid
B vitamins can be found in a variety of foods which is one of the many reasons variety in your diet is a key to good health. This includes whole grains and whole grain containing foods like Corn Thins slices, nuts, seeds, legumes, seafood, green leafy vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, dairy and eggs.
A full-time job can mean more time spent inside. 15 mcg (600 IU) of vitamin D is the recommended dietary allowance for both men and women daily. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which is needed for calcium to be absorbed properly in your body and plays an essential role in keeping your immune system working at its best.
While sun exposure is the best source of vitamin D food sources can also be found in seafood, dairy, eggs yolk and fortified products.
Keeping your energy levels optimal is not an option in your twenties. Women need 18mg a day and men 8mg a day. Iron helps you to do this and is needed to transport oxygen around your body. Iron also supports your immune system to work at its best.
Iron can be lost during exercise in your gastrointestinal tract, sweat, due to heavy impact through your feet in exercises like running. If you are particularly active and a keen runner or participate in a high impact sport, you may be losing more iron 70% compared to those who do not exercise much.
Good sources of iron can be found in lean animal meat, seafood, egg yolk, green leafy vegetables, whole grains and whole grain containing foods like Corn Thins slices, tofu, beans, nuts, seeds, and fortified products.
You peak bone mass develops occurs in your early 20’s for females and late 20’s for males. This is an important time to set your bones into their strongest form which you will take with you for the rest of your life. Women and men need 1000mg of calcium or 2.5 serves of dairy or dairy alternative serves each day.
Good sources of iron can be found in dairy products, fortified non-dairy milk alternatives, tofu, almonds, canned pink salmon with bones and sardines.
Take home message: Life in your 20’s is always on the go. If in doubt that you are meeting your nutrition needs seek the support of an Accredited Practising Dietitian. Also, now could be a good time to ask your GP for a blood test to make sure your levels of vitamin D are sufficient.