Making the Most of The Micronutrient Path by Hearth

Hi there, you may have heard about my app about the vitamins and minerals we all need to be healthy, which provides information on the foods we get them from and supplement RDAs to fill the gaps?

Here is my podcast about the idea behind my app.

If you’re using my pilot, please could you fill in this survey if you have a moment: My typeform survey

I am testing some pilots in a program called Appsheet, which turns my data into a mobile app. This is just for data and I’d like you to test the functions using pen and paper.

The functions of the app being built so far are;

  • Shopping list maker – you can either choose by eating preference; vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, omnivore, keto or Atkins, or create your own by ticking items. You could go through the vitamins and minerals and select foods you like. Once a micronutrient has been selected, it would grey out. The aim could also be to farm out shopping lists for delivery.
  • Meal planner – once items have been bought, the app will show you what’s in your larder. You can then select foods for a meal. The aim is to get all the water soluble vitamins, macrominerals and trace elements at each meal to be satisfied and so, by selecting items for a meal (when in or dining out) the app can tell you any micronutrients you aren’t currently accessing to buy a supplement
  • Menu creator – this could influence caterers, eateries and street food sellers to focus on the nutrient content of meals they serve. Particularly for festivals, this could reduce waste by focusing on essential ingredients and making fillers and entertainment food a separate purchase.
  • Micronutrient diary – hindsight can be useful when it comes to food, particularly over a longer period of time. By creating a record of what you’ve bought and/or eaten, you could look back and see any patterns emerging, such as food intolerances or cravings.

We all know ourselves best, so The Micronutrient Path can accompany you on your own food journey. I think “facts create choice”. We all know an orange provides vitamin C but not everyone likes or can afford oranges everyday. If you know you need vitamin C everyday, as our bodies don’t store it, this means you can choose how you want to or are able to get it each day, even when at a party or dining out.

Therefore, once you enter the app, you have a menu on the bottom of the screen. The first page lists the micronutrients we need each day to be healthy, the aim – which could become a game for younger people in a later version of the app – is to ensure we get all 26 vitamins and minerals each day.

This may seem like a lot of food, but they are called micronutrients for a reason. We only need a small quantity of each one. The fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K need to be eaten with or after dietary fats;

  • monounsaturated: olives, avocados, sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
  • polyunsaturated: oily fish, pulses, beans, nuts
  • saturated: non-oily fish, meat and poultry, cheese, eggs, milk, butter and cream
  • Trans fats are the ones to avoid, however red meat has a tiny percentage of trans fats, which comes from the rumination process. Unhealthy trans fats include partially hydrogenated oils and artificial fats, junk and ultra-processed food containing refined and processed fat and sugar.

As we store vitamins A, D, E and K, it isn’t essential we get these everyday. That comes down to various factors you can determine for yourself. Eating organ meat, for example, can provide enough vitamin A for a week. Other factors, which determine what and how much we eat include:

  • Variety – if you like tapas, meze, thali or delicatessen style food, you’ll know how difficult it is to eat too much. An assortment of foods is an excellent way to minimise the calories required to be satisfied by quickly attaining micronutrients through more than one source (or in this case, sauce).
  • Climate – We all know now that we don’t get enough sunlight in the UK to make vitamin D between Octdober and March each year. If you stay inside all day, wear clothing that covers all your skin or the darker the shade of skin, the more days a year it would be good to take a vitamin D3 or D2 supplement. As our bodies store it, this can be done in different ways.. Personally, I’ll have about 35mcg of D3 after a meal containing dietary fats when I’m not getting out into the sunshine.
  • Seasons – Someone from a hot country will find staying indoors in the cold British winter more impactful on their health than someone from the Orkneys. Although it is not said explicitly, BAME people living in the UK during 2020 suffered worse outcomes from COVID-19 and a solution could be recommending daily intake of essential nutrients. However, initiatives to provide vitamins such as Healthy Start were quietly withdrawn during 2020.
  • Lifestyle – The only bit of ‘diet advice’ we get from official sources seems to be about calories. There is no differentiation made between good or bad calories, also known as ’empty calories’ which don’t include any micronutrients. Surely, anyone wanting to restrict their calorie intake could say “bye-bye” to the ones that aren’t pulling their weight. Sudden changes to daily routine, such as during a lockdown or ending full-time employment can start the gradual process of gaining weight, which is best prevented by establishing a new routine to leave the house each day to prevent. It is unwittingly sinking into self-employment or a lockdown, which can wage a lengthy battle of the bulge as we gain weight just as slowly as we put it on.
  • Genes – where your ancestors lived can play a part in determining what foods are best to eat, as people from hot, sunny countries would get vitamins from their environment and be able to process sweeter foods, as tropical fruits contain fats, carbohydrates and protein. In the cold north, particularly during the winter, colds and other illnesses can be prevented through getting a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals each day from food, or supplements to fill gaps left by diet and lifestyle.

If you have a few minutes, please could you fill in my survey to help me make the best possible app.

Published by makingspace4life

Currently setting up a writing to service to provide press publicity, web content, innovative and memorable events, ghost-written trade magazine articles and UX consultancy to ensure new visitors can access and navigate your website with ease. Long term goal is to create a community interest company in Cornwall, which publishes well researched and tested apps to improve quality of life.

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