Lifestyle

Be aware of your actions

Additional lifestyle factors that also contribute to the Nutrition Gap

  • Dieters - When food intake is reduced, the intake of micronutrients is also reduced, but the body’s requirement for certain vitamins and minerals may actually increase during periods of weight loss.
  • Smokers - Each cigarette uses up large amounts of vitamin C and other antioxidants, which is one reason why smokers are more susceptible to heart disease and cancers.
  • Drinkers - Too much alcohol depletes the body of B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and calcium.
  • Athletes - Heavy exercise burns more oxygen, and increases the requirements for antioxidants. Large quantities of zinc and other minerals are lost in sweat, and need to be replaced.
  • Sun-worshippers - Too much sun uses up antioxidants. Extra intake of vitamins A, C and E, flavonoids and carotenoids help protect your skin from the aging effects of the sun.
  • Vegans and vegetarians - Need to plan their diets carefully; in particular, to ensure an adequate intake of vitamin B12 and vitamin D - often short in these diets.
  • Accidents, illness and surgery - All increase the need for vitamins and minerals, including zinc, calcium, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C, D and E.
  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding - The metabolic demands of providing for a growing infant increase the need for B complex vitamins, folic acid, vitamins A, D and E and minerals such as iron, calcium and magnesium.
  • The Pill - Oral contraceptives are thought to increase the need for folic acid, vitamins B and C and zinc.
  • Post-menopausal women - Need more calcium, magnesium and other minerals to spare their bones. Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K and plant-derived phytonutrients are also important.
  • The Elderly - Digestion is less efficient in the elderly, who generally have multiple micronutrient depletion. Poor dentition, depression, other illnesses and drug ingestion may further compound the problem in this age group.