29 March 2002
One serve of raw spinach a day could provide middle-aged and older Australians with the vitamins and minerals they currently lack in their diets, Melbourne researchers have recommended.
An oil and vinegar dressing would also see to their vitamin E needs.
These are the conclusions of a survey of dietary habits in people aged 44 or older, which confirmed diets were low in a range of certain vitamins and minerals, and high in fat.
The researchers found more than half of those surveyed eat less than the recommended dietary intake (RDI) of vitamins A and E, calcium, magnesium and zinc. Iron intake less than the RDI was also seen in women of child-bearing age. Vitamin C, niacin and sodium intake less than the RDIs was rarer.
Analysis of the dietary intake of study participants born in Italy or Greece showed a distinct pattern, the researchers wrote in the scientific journal Nutrition and Dietetics (2002; 59: 12-17).
More than half the Greek- and Italian-born participants took in less than the RDI for the following nutrients: vitamin A and E, riboflavin (younger Greek men), folate (older Italians), calcium, iron (Italian women of child-bearing age), potassium (older Italian men), magnesium, phosphorous (all Italian women and older Italian men), and zinc.
The researchers also found that more than two-thirds of their study participants had an average daily fat intake greater than the recommended 30 per cent of energy intake. The mean saturated fat intake was greater than 12 per cent for all ages.
The researchers analysed the dietary intake of more than 2500 Melbourne residents over a period of 5 years.
Last Reviewed: 05 April 2002