My Week at Uni – Nutrition or Science?

This week I begun lectures for my Nutrition degree, sorry, scratch that, my science foundation year. Because I need to do a foundation year before I can embark on my nutrition degree this year I am studying some foundations of science. The idea is that this not only gives me the basic science understanding I need but also a more focused knowledge to help for the nutrition degree.

As I signed up to study nutrition this year and its structure is something I am still wrapping my head around. I can already see this year will be hugely beneficial as my scientific knowledge is very minimal (if is something I had very little, if any, interest in at school). However, there’s still that part of me that just wants to crack on with it all and rush ahead.

It’s interesting being back in a learning environment with lots of different people at different levels with different capabilities and also experiencing different teachers with different styles. I am settling in and feeling a little overwhelmed to think there are 4 years until I finish these studies, it just seems so far off, but I am also excited to learn more from not just the teachers and materials but all the people I interact with.

Personal learning from this week: Be patient with yourself and the studies; time cannot be rushed.

Interesting facts learnt this week:

  1. Iron is not always easy for the body to absorb – Haem Iron (from bloody products such as animal livers and kidneys) is easy for the body to absorb. Vegetable Iron (from high iron vegetables such as dark leafy greens, cabbage and broccoli) is not as easily absorbed by the body. For the body to get the most from the iron in vegetable sources it should be consumed along with vitamin C (best found in citrus juices like lemon). So cook or dress your veggies in lemon!
  2. Most people are deficient in Zinc! – most foods contain some zinc but the amount of zinc your body can actually get from the food and use is very varied. Zinc is so important for our bodies in helping to regulate our immune systems and is even more important for pregnant women. Meats are a source of zinc which is easy for the body to absorb but for those who do not to eat meat it’s very easy to access the zinc in beans, grains and seeds too… just soak them in water for a few hours (ideally overnight). This allows sprouts to form making the foods more digestible and the vitamins and minerals more easily accessible for the body!
  3. Milk substitutes are low in Iodine – Iodine is important for brain development so is important for everyone, but especially pregnant women, to consume as part of a healthy diet. Most plant-based milk substitutes are low in Iodine containing only 2% of that of cows’ milk. White fish and eggs are a great alternative source of iodine and for those who are vegan or do not eat fish it may be worthwhile looking into a good quality iodine supplement. (check out this article for more information: https://theconversation.com/most-milk-substitutes-are-low-in-iodine-heres-why-it-matters-83589)

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