We all want to be as healthy as possible.
When you read somewhere that eating high levels of protein is the best way to be healthy, of course, you up your protein intake. However, extremes are rarely a healthy choice for your body.
There are so many of these 'healthy' habits we embrace with a little too much zeal, and it can mean depleting your body of essential vitamins and minerals. We spoke to celebrated nutritionist, Fiona Tuck, to find out how we can get some balance back into our 'healthy' lifestyles.
Taking heartburn medication long-term
Antiacids or proton pump inhibitor medications decrease the amount of stomach acid being produced to alleviate acid reflux and heartburn. Long term use can deplete vitamin B12 leading to a vitamin B 12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 is required for haemoglobin synthesis, a healthy nervous system, cognitive function, to name just a few. Deficiency signs can show as poor memory, poor cognitive function, numbness or tingling in the extremities, tiredness.
Depleted choline may also result from long-term antiacid use. Choline is required for fat emulsification, neurotransmitter synthesis and healthy brain function. Increase vitamin B12 foods such as red meat, liver, mussels, pate, fish. Increase choline foods such as eggs, chickpeas, soy lecithin. It is beneficial to speak to your GP if you are on long term antiacids and have your Vitamin B 12 levels checked.
Eating too much protein
A high protein diet such as red meat and protein powders can create an acidic environment in the body by producing ammonia, a by-product of the break down of protein. In order to compensate for the high acid diet, the body withdraws on alkaline minerals such as calcium.
Long term high protein diets combined with a diet high in acid-forming foods such as salt, sugar, coffee et can have adverse effects on the bones. The body needs more water if protein intake is high to flush out waste products e.g. ammonia. This can put a strain on the kidneys.
Aim for 1g of protein per kg of body weight. This can vary depending on health, age, weight so always refer to a nutritionist to ensure you are eating the right amount for your body.