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Nutritional deficiencies, nutrients at risk
A nutritional deficiency or deficit consumption is defined based on the recommended intakes, so it is considered that a low amount of a certain nutrient is consumed if the intake is less than 80% of the recommended daily quota.
Different nutritional evaluations carried out on the Spanish diet show that there are certain nutrients that are not consumed in adequate amounts and, therefore, do not cover the daily recommendation.
Among the nutrients whose intake is deficient, we find calcium in some age groups such as the elderly and adults over 40 years old, vitamin A, potassium, vitamin D, iron only in pre and post menopausal women, as well as folic acid.
All these micronutrients have important functions in the body and their deficient intake can lead to unwanted risks, for example, the lack of iron and folic acid can cause anemia, the lack of calcium and vitamin D increases the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular problems as well as kidney, while a lack of potassium is associated with an increased risk of hypertension and heart problems.
Therefore, we must concentrate on these nutrients to avoid nutritional deficiencies.
Herbs and spices to add nutrients to dishes
With the help of different herbs and spices we can achieve a significant increase in the intake of some micronutrients, since these ingredients, even used in small quantities, can be concentrated sources of vitamins and minerals.
For example, we can use the following herbs and spices to avoid some nutritional deficiencies:
- Laurel: it is a concentrated source of iron and calcium, so much so that only 10 grams (1 tablespoon) of dried laurel can offer us 4 mg of iron, half the quota for men and 1/4 of the quota for women. Likewise, in this amount we can find 18 ug of folic acid, with the recommended intake of this nutrient being about 400 ug daily.
- Parsley: it is a very good source of potassium and vitamin C, so much so that in 25 grams of this fresh herb we can obtain 200 mg of potassium, when about 3,500 mg a day and more than 40 mg of vitamin C are recommended, that is half of the daily recommendation.
- Black pepper: in it we can find for each 5-gram teaspoon about 21 mg of calcium and 63 mg of potassium.
- Cinnamon: it is an excellent source of calcium, and for every teaspoon that we add to an infusion or a dessert we are adding 62 mg of the mineral, that is, half of what 100 ml of milk offers, with the daily calcium quota of about 1000 mg.
- Dry oregano: it is a good way to add potassium to dishes, as well as calcium, since a 10-gram tablespoon adds up to 170 mg of the first micronutrient and 150 mg of the mineral ideal for bones and teeth.
- Dried rosemary: being a dehydrated version the nutrients are concentrated and in a couple of teaspoons (10 grams) we can find 130 mg of calcium, that is, more than a tenth of the daily recommendation.
- Dried thyme: it is a concentrated source of iron and just by adding 1 teaspoon to our meats we can add 6 mg of iron to our recipe.
- Tarragon: a simple teaspoon allows us to obtain 10% of the daily recommendation for potassium, an amount not less if we consider the amount used of this herb.
- Coriander: just a couple of teaspoons (10 grams) of this herb can provide 56 mg of vitamin C, 446 mg of potassium, and also the same amount of calcium as 100 ml of milk: 125 mg.
- Paprika: with it we can add almost 10% of the daily recommendation of vitamin A, since about 10 grams add up to 600 micrograms of this micronutrient that is required in amounts of 800 to 1000 micrograms daily.
As we can see, although small amounts of herbs and spices are used to give flavor and aroma to our preparations, these ingredients can help us avoid deficiencies by adding micronutrients in considerable quantities.
Also, as we use small proportions, we will not be adding many calories, but yes, good nutrients.
By Gabriela Gottau
Direct to the Palate