Introducing Iodine

Are You Eating Enough Iodine-Rich Foods?

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Iodine, essential mineral, nourish notesThe body does not make iodine, so it is an essential part of your diet. In addition, this mineral  is needed for the production of thyroid hormones. As an integral part of thyroid hormones it regulates body temperature, metabolic rate, reproduction, growth, blood cell production, nerve and muscle function and more. By controlling the rate at which the cells use oxygen, these hormones influence the amount of energy released when the body is at total rest. Approximately 70 to 80% of the body’s iodine is found in the thyroid.

The Primary Sources of Iodine

Most foods have low iodine content however, iodized salt, seafood, plants grown in iodine-rich soil and animals fed those plants or feed containing iodine are good sources. Additional foods may be sources of iodine if iodized salt is used in their preparation (e.g. bread).

Iodine, nourish notes, primary sources, essentila mineral

Bioavailability of Iodine

Normally, the absorption of iodine from foods is very high (>90%). Some foods (e.g., cassava, millet, lima beans, cabbage) contain substances called goitrogens. These substances inhibit the transfer of iodine to the thyroid gland and disrupt the production of thyroid hormones. If foods containing goitrogens are consumed in large quantities, they may limit the absorption and use of iodine by the body. In general, most people can tolerate higher intakes of iodine from food and supplements.

Risks Related to Inadequate Intake of Iodine

Iodine deficiency has adverse effects at all stages of development but is most damaging to the developing brain. In addition to regulating many aspects of growth and development, thyroid hormone is important for myelination of the nerves, which is most active before and shortly after birth. Thus during pregnancy, diets deficient in iodine may result in higher risk for mental retardation. Thyroid enlargement, or goiter, is one of the most visible signs of iodine deficiency.

Find more information on vitamins and micronutrient deficiencies though our partner, Vitamin Angels or download our complete vitamin and mineral guide here

Incorporate iodine into your next evening meal by trying the delicious recipe below…

Garlic & Chilli Prawns*

Ingredients

Garlic, prawns, recipe, jamie Oliver8 large raw shell-on king prawns , from sustainable sources
3 cloves of garlic
1 fresh red chilli
a few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
50 ml olive oil , ideally Spanish
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 lemon

Method

Peel the prawns, removing the heads and leaving the tails on. Run the tip of a knife down the backs of the peeled prawns and pull out and discard the dark vein. Peel the garlic and finely chop with the chilli (deseed if you like). Pick and finely chop the parsley leaves. Next, drizzle the oil into a shallow heatproof terracotta dish or a small frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the garlic and chilli and fry for 30 seconds to flavour the oil, before stirring in the paprika. Add the prawns and fry for 2 minutes on each side, or until cooked through, adding most of the parsley when you turn the prawns.
Squeeze half the lemon juice into the dish, then remove from the heat and sprinkle over the remaining parsley and a pinch of sea salt.

*Adapted from Jamie Oliver Recipes

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Introducing Iron

An Important Role in the Body

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Iron, essential mineral, nourish notes, FeFeeling tired? No energy? Maybe you are not getting enough iron in your diet! Iron is essential for the formation of haemoglobin in red blood cells; haemoglobin binds oxygen and transports it around the body. Iron also serves as a cofactor to enzymes in oxidation/reduction reactions (i.e., accepts or donates electrons). These reactions are vital to cells’ energy metabolism. Iron requirements fluctuate throughout the life course. Iron needs increase during menstruation, pregnancy, and periods of rapid growth such as early childhood and adolescence.

The Primary Sources of Iron

Iron can be found in red meats, fish, poultry, shellfish, eggs, legumes, grains, and dried fruits.

Iron, nourish notes, primary sources, meat, mineral

Bioavailability of Iron

Iron is carefully regulated by the body and absorption rates vary by the size of a person’s iron stores. The more iron-deficient a person is, the better the absorption rates. Conversely, in healthy individuals iron absorption shuts down when iron stores have been maximized. Many factors affect the absorption of iron. Heme iron from animal-source foods is absorbed, on average, twice as well as inorganic iron (from plant sources). The absorption rates for inorganic iron are also influenced by the meal composition and the solubility of the iron form.

Factors that enhance absorption of inorganic iron are vitamin C and animal protein. Factors that inhibit inorganic iron absorption include phytates (found in grains), polyphenols (found in teas and red wine), vegetable protein, and calcium (which also affects the absorption of heme iron). Food processing techniques to reduce the phytate content of plant-based foods, such as thermal processing, milling, soaking, fermentation, and germination, improve the bioavailability of inorganic iron from these foods.

Risks Related to Inadequate Intake of Iron

A lack of dietary iron depletes iron stores in the liver, spleen and bone marrow. Severe depletion or exhaustion of iron stores can lead to iron deficiency anemia. Certain life-stages require greater iron intake and if these are not met, the risk for iron deficiency is increased. For example, pregnancy demands additional iron to support the added blood volume, growth of the fetus and blood loss during childbirth. Infants and young children need extra iron to support their rapid growth and brain development. Because breast milk is low in iron, infants exclusively fed breastmilk may also be at risk for iron deficiency. Similarly, the rapid growth of adolescence also demands extra iron.

Due to iron’s role in energy metabolism, depletion of body iron stores may result in reductions of the available energy in the cell. The physical signs of iron deficiency include fatigue, weakness, headaches, apathy, susceptibility to infections, and poor resistance to cold temperatures.

Find more information on vitamins and micronutrient deficiencies though our partner, Vitamin Angels or download our complete vitamin and mineral guide here.

Incorporate iron into your next evening meal by trying the delicious recipe below…

Fillet Steak with Peppercorn Sauce*

Steak, Jamie Oliver, recipe, nourish notes

Ingredients 

175 g fillet steak , ideally 3-4cm thick
olive oil
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
Peppercorn Sauce (enough sauce for 2 steaks)
1 teaspoon white peppercorns
40 ml brandy
125 ml dry white wine
100 ml concentrated organic beef stock
30 ml double cream
1 teaspoon unsalted butter

Method

Place a medium frying pan over a high heat to warm-up. Season the steak with sea salt and drizzle with a little oil, then rub all over. Place the steak into the hot pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare, searing it on its edges for an even crust. If you prefer your steak medium (5 to 6 minutes) or well done (8 to 10 minutes), adjust the cooking time to your liking. Remove the steak to a plate, reserving the pan of juices. Top the steak with the butter, cover with tin foil, then leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, crush the peppercorns in a pestle and mortar, then sieve and remove the powder, leaving the chunker bits to cook with. Add the chunky white peppercorns to the pan of meat juices and cook over a low heat for 30 seconds. Pour in the brandy to deglaze the pan, then carefully tilt the pan to catch the flame (or light with a match) and let it flambé for 30 seconds – stand back! When the flames subside, add the wine, turn the heat up to high and reduce by half, then add the beef stock and continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes, or until thick and delicious. Turn off the heat, stir in the cream, add the butter and any resting juices, and stir to combine. Serve the steak with a drizzle of peppercorn sauce.

*Adapted from Jamie Oliver recipes

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Introducing Zinc

Playing Key Roles in Human Body Function

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ZincThat cut on your finger not healing? Maybe you are not getting enough zinc? Zinc plays a vital role in wound healing as it is required for the functioning of the immune system and in the structure and function of the skin. Almost all cells in our body contain zinc and it is a vital nutrient for growth and development. The highest concentrations are found in muscle and bone. The body tightly regulates zinc levels. For example, stress and infections cause plasma zinc levels to fall. 

Zinc has a key role as a catalyst in a wide range of reactions and is, in fact, a catalyst for about 100 enzymes. It is important in the structure of cell transport proteins such as vitamins A and D. Zinc regulates gene expression; stabilizes cell membranes, helping to strengthen their defense against oxidative stress; participates in the synthesis, storage, and release of insulin; interacts with platelets in blood clotting; and influences thyroid hormone function. It is necessary for visual pigments; normal taste perception; sperm production; fetal development; and behavior and learning performance.

The Primary Sources of Zinc

Zinc can be found in meats, a selection of  shellfish, legumes, mushrooms whole grains, and some fortified cereals.

Zinc Sources

Bioavailability of Zinc

Like iron, zinc absorption will depend on the zinc body pool, with those having poorer zinc status able to absorb zinc more efficiently in the gut. Foods rich in phytate lead to previously absorbed zinc being lost in the feces. High intakes of calcium, phosphorus, or iron also decrease the absorption of zinc. Protein may enhance absorption of zinc.

Risks Related to Inadequate Intake of Zinc

Individuals consuming unprocessed or minimally processed diets consisting of unrefined whole grains or unleavened whole bread and little animal-source foods are at greater risk for zinc deficiency. Zinc needs are higher in periods of growth and development, such as infancy, childhood, pregnancy and lactation. Zinc deficiency can occur even with only modest restrictions to zinc intake. Impaired growth velocity is the main clinical feature of zinc deficiency. Immune system functions and pregnancy outcomes improve with zinc supplementation. For example, zinc is often given as an adjunct therapy for diarrhea.

Find more information on vitamins and micronutrient deficiencies though our partner, Vitamin Angels or download our complete vitamin and mineral guide here

Incorporate zinc into your next evening meal by trying the delicious recipe below…

Beef stroganoff with herby pasta*

Ingredients

Beef Stroganoff4 tbsp olive oil
500 g mushrooms, sliced
1.5 kg stewing beef, cut into 3cm cubes
350 ml beef stock
3 onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
150 ml dry white wine
100 ml brandy
300 ml double cream

For the beurre manié
3 tbsp butter, softened
3 tbsp plain flour

Method

Preheat the oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 3. Then, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large ovenproof casserole and lightly fry the mushrooms in batches in the olive oil until golden brown. Tip onto a plate and set aside. Brown the meat in the same pan in small batches, adding more oil as necessary and removing each batch from the pan. Now fry the onions until softened and lightly coloured, adding the garlic towards the end and using a little more oil, if necessary. Next, pour 150ml of the stock into the pan and bring to the boil, stirring to deglaze. Return the mushrooms and meat to the pan, then pour in the wine, brandy and remaining stock. Add seasoning to taste, stir well and bring to a simmer. Cover with the lid, transfer to the oven and cook for 2-2½ hours or until the meat is tender. Make the beurre manié by putting the butter and flour onto a plate and mixing to a paste. Set aside. When the meat is cooked, carefully strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan. Keep the meat and mushrooms warm in the covered casserole. Pour the cream into the cooking liquid and boil, uncovered, for a few minutes until the sauce has reduced slightly and has a good flavour. Adjust the seasoning to taste, if necessary. With the liquid still boiling, add the beurre manié 1 teaspoon at a time and whisk vigorously until the sauce thickens slightly. Now pour the sauce over the meat and mushrooms and stir gently to mix. Keep the stroganoff warm until you are ready to serve. 

*Adapted from the BCC Good Food website. 

 

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Introducing Copper

A Necessary Essential Mineral

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CopperAfter iron and zinc, copper is the most abundant dietary trace mineral. It is a component of many enzymes and is needed to produce red and white blood cells. Copper-dependent enzymes transport iron and load it into hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen through the blood.

Copper-dependent enzymes also provide a natural defense against free radicals that damage the body; manufacture collagen (required by skin and bone); inactivate histamine, which is responsible for allergic reactions; and degrade dopamine into a neurotransmitter so cells can “talk” to each other. Copper is also thought to be important for infant growth, brain development, the immune system and for strong bones. 

The Primary Sources of Copper 

Copper is often found in seafood, nuts, whole grains, seeds and legumes, as well as organ meats (offal). 

Copper Sources

Bioavailability of Copper  

Copper absorption depends on copper intake; absorption rates are approximately 50% when intakes <1 mg/day (which is approximately the recommended intake for adult males). High iron intake may lower the absorption of copper.  

Risks Related to Inadequate or Excess Intake of Copper  

Copper deficiency in healthy humans is very rare. However, those at risk for copper deficiency are individuals with a rare genetic disorder, Menke’s disease, and children who are malnourished, those with prolonged diarrhea, or who are fed only cow’s milk. Because copper is needed to transport iron, clinical signs of copper deficiency include anemia. Other clinical signs are osteoporosis and other abnormalities of bone development, loss of pigmentation, neurological symptoms, and impaired growth. Excessive intakes of copper from foods are unlikely. 

Find more information on vitamins and micronutrient deficiencies though our partner, Vitamin Angels or download our complete vitamin and mineral guide here

Incorporate copper into your next breakfast meal by trying the delicious recipe below…

Crunchy Nutty Granola* 

Ingredients

125g butter Crunchy Nutty Granola
150ml honey 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
500g oat flakes 
100g flaked almonds 
100g chopped cashew nuts 
100g desiccated coconut 
100g pumpkin seeds 
100g sunflower seeds 
200-300g mixed dried fruit, such as chopped pitted dates, figs, apricots, raisins, sultanas 
 
Method 
Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/gas 3. Place the butter, honey and vanilla in a small pan, and put over a gentle heat to melt together. Next, mix the remaining ingredients, except the dried fruit, in a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter mixture and mix well. Spread out in a large roasting tray and bake for 25 minutes, or until the nuts and grains are a pale golden brown, stirring every 5 minutes so it browns evenly. Then remove the tray from the oven and leave to cool, stirring the mixture in the tray occasionally. (If you transfer it to a bowl while it’s still warm, it will go soggy.) When it has cooled down, add the dried fruit, stir, and put into an airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to a month.  

*adapted from Rachel Allen Recipes 

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Introducing Fluoride

Building Strong Bones and Healthy Teeth

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When we hear the word fluoride most of us think about its role in keeping our teeth healthy. It’s true that the main function of fluoride in the body is in the mineralisation of bones and teeth therefore, it is critical for healthy teeth and bones. This is why fluoride is now routinely added to most toothpastes. Fluoride is also present in soils, water supplies, plants and animals. Only a trace of fluoride is found in the body, but even at these tiny amounts, the crystalline deposits of fluoride result in larger and stronger bones and makes teeth more resistant to decay.

The Primary Sources of Fluoride

Fluoride is commonly found in drinking water (if fluoride-containing or fluoridated), tea, and seafood (especially if eaten with bones).

 

Bioavailability of Fluoride

Fluoride bioavailability from water and dental products is very close to 100%. Calcium may reduce the absorption of fluoride by 10–25%.

Risks Related to Inadequate or Excess Intake of Fluoride

In humans, the only clear effect of inadequate fluoride intake is an increased risk of dental caries (tooth decay) for individuals of all ages. Too much fluoride can damage the teeth, causing fluorosis. Teeth develop small white specks and in severe cases the enamel becomes pitted and permanently stained. Fluorosis only occurs during tooth development and cannot be reversed, making its prevention a high priority.

Find more information on vitamins and micronutrient deficiencies though our partner, Vitamin Angels or download our complete vitamin and mineral guide here

Incorporate fluoride into your next meal by trying the delicious recipe below…

Linguine with Clams*

Ingredients

150 g dried linguine
2 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
500 g clams, scrubbed, from sustainable sources
olive oil
1 pinch of dried red chili flakes
125 ml dry white wine
extra virgin olive oil

Method

Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the garlic, then pick and finely chop the parsley (stalks and all).

Sort through the clams, giving any that aren’t tightly closed a tap. If they don’t close, throw them away.
When the pasta has 5 minutes to go, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat, add the garlic and chilli flakes, and fry for 1 minute, or until lightly golden.

Throw in the clams, give the pan a good a shake, then after 30 seconds add the wine and pop the lid on.
After 3 or 4 minutes, the clams will start to open – keep shaking the pan until they’ve all opened, then remove from the heat, and discard any clams that remain closed.

Using tongs, drag the pasta straight into the pan of clams, then simmer for a minute or two in all the delicious juices.

Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed, then add the parsley and good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and toss together. Delicious served with a glass of chilled white wine.

*This recipe is sourced from Jamie Oliver

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Introducing Potassium

Fundamental Mineral for Human Function

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It is not an exaggeration to say that potassium literally keeps us alive! It is the body’s principal positively charged ion (cation) inside our cells and thus is essential for maintenance of normal fluid and electrolyte balance, enzyme reactions, cell integrity, and muscle contraction. Potassium and sodium are pumped across the cell membrane, a process that drives nerve impulse transmission.

The potassium found in natural, unprocessed foods is often linked to an organic anion (e.g. citrate). Organic anions play an important role in buffering the acids produced by the body in metabolizing meats or protein-rich foods. These acids can demineralize the bone and increase the risk of kidney stones.

The Primary Sources of Potassium

Fruits and vegetables, especially vine fruits such as tomato, cucumber, zucchini, eggplant, pumpkin, and leafy greens and root vegetables are important sources of potassium along with grains, meats, and legumes.

Risks Related to Inadequate or Excess Intake of Potassium

Moderate potassium deficiency is linked to increases in blood pressure, increased risk of kidney stones, bone demineralization, and stroke. Certain types of diuretics (e.g., thiazide diuretics or furosemide), alcoholism, severe vomiting or diarrhea, overuse or abuse of laxatives, anorexia nervosa or bulimia, magnesium depletion, and congestive heart failure (CHF) are associated with a higher risk for potassium deficiency. Potassium toxicity does not result from overeating foods high in potassium but can result from overconsumption of potassium salts or supplements (including some protein shakes and energy drinks) and from certain diseases or treatments.

Find more information on vitamins and micronutrient deficiencies though our partner, Vitamin Angels or download our complete vitamin and mineral guide here

Incorporate potassium into your next meal by trying the delicious recipe below…

Aubergine/Eggplant and Tomato Curry*

Ingredients

600g baby aubergines, sliced into rounds
3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
400ml can chopped tomatoes
400ml can coconut milk
pinch of sugar
½ small pack coriander, roughly chopped
rice or chapatis, to serve

Method

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Toss the aubergines in a roasting tin with 2 tbsp olive oil, season well and spread out. Roast for 20 mins or until dark golden and soft.

Heat the remaining oil in an ovenproof pan or flameproof casserole dish and cook the onions over a medium heat for 5-6 mins until softening. Stir in the garlic and spices, for a few mins until the spices release their aromas.

Tip in the tomatoes, coconut milk and roasted aubergines, and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 20-25 mins, removing the lid for the final 5 mins to thicken the sauce. Add a little seasoning if you like, and a pinch of sugar if it needs it. Stir through most of the coriander. Serve over rice or with chapatis, scattering with the remaining coriander.

*Adapted from BBC Good Food 

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Introducing Phosphorus

Essential for Optimal Bone Health

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Working together with calcium and magnesium, phosphorus is another important mineral related to bone health and is essential for the formation of healthy bones. In fact, about 85% of phosphorus in the body is combined with calcium in the bones and teeth. In all body cells, phosphorus is part of a major buffer system (phosphoric acid and its salts). Phosphorus is also a component of DNA and RNA, which are essential elements of all cells.

In addition, phosphorus helps release energy from food in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The ATP molecule uses three phosphate groups to do its work. Many enzymes and the B-vitamins become active only when a phosphate group is attached. Lipids found in the cell walls also use phosphorus. These phospholipids give cells their fluid structure, which is necessary for the transport of compounds into and out of cells.

The Primary Sources of Phosphorus

Phosphorus is found naturally in many foods from both animal and vegetable products. Foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk are excellent animal sources while sunflower seeds are a good vegan source.

Bioavailability of Phosphorus

Phosphorous is absorbed well from most foods, especially animal-source foods. In plant seeds containing phytic acid/phytate, only 50% of the phosphorus is available for humans. Individuals who consume large amounts of dairy products or cola beverages have higher intakes of phosphorus, which may interfere with calcium metabolism.

Risks Related to Inadequate Intake of Phosphorus

Because phosphorus is so widespread in food, dietary phosphorus deficiency is seen mostly in cases of malnutrition, anorexic individuals, or alcoholics. Symptoms of phosphorus deficiency are poor appetite, anxiety, and irritability. In children, phosphorus deficiency may manifest as decreased growth and poor bone and tooth development.

Find more information on vitamins and micronutrient deficiencies though our partner, Vitamin Angels or download our complete vitamin and mineral guide here

Incorporate phosphorus into your next meal by trying the delicious recipe below…

Beef Stroganoff and Herby Pasta*

Ingredients

400g beef rump steak, trimmed
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
300g small button mushroom
400g pappardelle pasta
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 tbsp plain flour
300ml beef stock
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp tomato purée
3 tbsp crème fraîche
½ x 20g pack flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Method

Freeze the beef for 45 mins before you begin, slice as thinly as you can, then season.

In a large, non-stick frying pan, melt half the butter with half the oil. Increase the heat, then quickly sear the beef in batches until browned on both sides. Remove the meat and set aside. Repeat with the mushrooms, then set aside with the beef. Boil the pasta.

Add the remaining butter and oil to the pan and soften the shallots for a few mins. Stir in the flour for 1 min, then gradually stir in the stock. Bubble for 5 mins until thickened, then stir in the mustard, purée, crème fraîche and seasoning. Bubble for 1 min more, then return the beef and mushrooms to the pan.

Drain the pasta, toss with half the parsley, season, then serve with the creamy stroganoff, sprinkled with the remaining parsley.

*Recipe is adapted from BBC Good Food

Introducing Magnesium

A Base for Healthy Bones, Muscles and Forming Energy

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Did you know that it’s not only calcium that has a vital role in bone health…magnesium is also a key player! More than half the body’s magnesium is found in the bones, where it helps in the development and maintenance of bone. Much of the rest of the mineral is found in the muscles and soft tissues, with only 1% in the extracellular fluid. Bone magnesium serves as a reservoir for magnesium to ensure normal magnesium blood concentrations.

Magnesium is involved in more than 300 essential metabolic reactions such as synthesis of our genetic material (DNA/RNA) and proteins, in cell growth and reproduction, and in energy production and storage. Magnesium is important for the formation of the body’s main energy compound adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Our cells need ATP for all their processes.

The Primary Sources of Magnesium

Nuts, legumes, whole grains, dark green vegetables, and seafood.

Bioavailability of Magnesium

Magnesium absorption will decrease in diets with low intakes of protein. As with calcium, foods high in fiber that contain phytic acid will also decrease absorption of magnesium.

Risks Related to Inadequate or Excess Intake of Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency in healthy individuals who are consuming a balanced diet is quite rare because magnesium is abundant in both plant and animal foods and the kidneys are able to limit urinary excretion of magnesium when intake is low. Severe magnesium deficiency (hypomagnesemia) can impede vitamin D and calcium homeostasis. Certain individuals are more susceptible to magnesium deficiency, especially those with gastrointestinal or renal disorders, those suffering from chronic alcoholism, and older people. Magnesium toxicity is rare. The upper limit of magnesium can only be exceeded with non-food sources such as supplements or magnesium salts.

Find more information on vitamins and micronutrient deficiencies though our partner, Vitamin Angels or download our complete vitamin and mineral guide here

Incorporate magnesium into your next meal by trying the delicious recipe below…

Nut Roast

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
15g butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
200g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
1 red pepper, halved, deseeded and finely diced
1 large carrot, grated
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
100g red lentils
2 tbsp tomato purée
300ml vegetable stock
100g fresh breadcrumbs
150g mixed nuts such as walnuts, peacans, hazelnuts and Brazil nuts, roughly chopped
3 large eggs
100g mature cheddar, grated
handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

For the tomato sauce
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 sprig rosemary
400ml passata

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/Gas 4. Line the base and sides of a 1.5 litre loaf tin with parchment paper.

Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan and cook the onion and celery for about 5 mins until beginning to soften. Stir in the garlic and mushrooms and cook for a further 10 mins.

Stir in the red pepper and grated carrot and cook for about 3 mins then add the oregano and paprika and cook for just a minute.

Add the red lentils and tomato purée and cook for about 1 min, then add the vegetable stock and simmer over a very gentle heat until all the liquid has been absorbed and the mixture is fairly dry. This should take about 25 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Finally, stir in the breadcrumbs, nuts, eggs, cheese and parsley and a pinch of salt and some ground black pepper. Stir to mix well then spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and press down the surface. Cover with foil and bake for 30 mins, then remove the foil and bake for a further 20 mins until firm when pressed gently.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat the oil very gently then add the garlic slices and rosemary sprig and heat without colouring. Pour in the passata and add a pinch of salt and some ground black pepper. Simmer gently for just 15 mins.

Allow the loaf to cool in the tin for about 10 mins then turn out onto a serving board or plate. Remove the baking paper and cut into slices and serve with a little of the tomato sauce.

To make a vegan nut roast, use an extra tbsp of oil in place of butter and 3 tbsp egg replacer. Bake your nut roast for 1 hour. The loaf will still be soft in the middle after cooking. It can be cooked in advance and then chilled, sliced and reheated to make it easier to serve. 

*Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food

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