The most Googled nutrition questions answered
Have you ever wondered what kind of nutrition questions people ask Google?
Well, look no further! Here are 5 of the most common questions this year which our expert nutritionists have answered. All the answers in one place, DR.VEGAN is here to bring clarity to your nutrition and supplements.
5 of the most Googled nutrition questions
1. "What foods are high in Vitamin D and how much do I need?"
Vitamin D can be obtained from food sources but it isn't widely present in foods.
The major natural food sources are oily fish, milk, eggs and meat. When following a plant-based diet you can still find some Vitamin D in fortified plant milk alternatives, mushrooms and fortified cereals.
Children from the age of 1 year and adults need at least 10 micrograms of Vitamin D per day. It can be pretty difficult for anyone to reach this amount which is why Public Health England recommend everyone supplements with Vitamin D, especially over winter months and when staying indoors more, particularly due to Covid.
You may also enjoy 'How do I know if I'm deficient in Vitamin D?'
During the summer months when the sun is out, you can boost your Vitamin D by spending short periods outside, exposing your skin to natural sunlight daily.
Good tip - if you're unsure when Vitamin D absorption is at its highest, you can take a look at your shadow to help! If your shadow is shorter than you, your skin will be producing Vitamin D.
Not sure what your diet provides? Find out in 3 minutes for free with our Diet Profile.
2. "What are BCAAs?"
A surprisingly popular question on Google.
BCAAs is short for 'branched-chain amino acids'. They are a group of 3 amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine) that are essential for building and repairing muscles.
These amino acids are especially helpful after exercise as they help to preserve and support muscle tissue after a workout. Since BCAAs are regarded as essential amino acids, meaning they can’t be made by the body, it's really important to obtain them from the foods we eat.
Although BCAAs are typically found in animal products, it’s easy to get them on a plant-based diet by eating soy foods such as tofu and tempeh, quinoa, brown rice, beans, lentils, nuts or seitan.
Learn more in 'The proven health benefits of soya'.
As long as you’re getting enough of these protein powered plant-foods in your diet, BCAA supplementation isn’t really necessary.
3. "What does calorie deficit mean?"
When you’re in a state of calorie deficit, your body is burning more calories than is being consumed by eating or drinking. The calorie deficit happens when you eat fewer calories in the day and/or burn more calories in the day through exercise. The greater the deficit, the more calories you burn.
If you are trying to lose weight, you can calculate the number of calories you need to consume or burn in order to reach your weight loss goal. Plug your stats into an online Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) calculator which will tell you the amount of energy (calories) you need when you’re at rest with no form of activity.
Once you know how many calories your body needs to maintain your current weight, you can reduce the number of calories eaten per day by 250-500 calories to help you achieve weight loss.
Alternatively, you can increase the amount you exercise to help you burn extra calories, thereby leading to weight loss. Learn more in 'How to lose weight healthily'.
4. "How to boost my immune system?"
The immune system protects the body against infection and disease, so it’s no wonder that this question made it on the top Googled questions of the year.
Your immune system can't function at its best without the basic essential nutrients you need every day.
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole foods provides your body with the powerful antioxidants that are needed for healthy immunity. They provide your body with Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and beta-carotene which can be converted into Vitamin A. These have all been linked to a range of health-promoting and disease fighting activities.
- Vitamin A rich foods include sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach and other dark leafy greens.
- Vitamin C rich foods include citrus fruits, bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and strawberries.
- Vitamin E rich foods include whole grains, sweet potatoes, almonds and vegetable oils.
5. "How much fat should I eat?"
Healthy fats are an important part of the diet as they provide you with energy and help carry fat-soluble vitamins around your body. Fat soluble vitamins include Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K.
However it's important you don't eat too much fat or even the wrong balance of fats as this can contribute to a range of health issues.
Ensure you get around 20-25% of your energy intake from polyunsaturated fats found in soya, sunflower and sesame oils, or monounsaturated fats found in olive oil (the healthy kind of fats).
And make sure you get less than 10% of saturated fats which are found typically in meat, dairy products, processed foods like cakes and biscuits.
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Written by expert nutritionist, Riya Lakhani, ANutr