Vitamin B12

Dairy products and meat are the main ways we get B12 through diet. ‘So, if you’re veggie or vegan, or just don’t eat a lot of those foods, you’re at risk of deficiency,’ says Charlotte. ‘A lack of B12 causes the body to produce abnormally large red blood cells, which can’t function properly. B12 also keeps the brain and nervous system…

Iodine

The UK is globally the seventh most iodine-deficient country, one of only two high-income nations in the top 10. Low levels can affect production of thyroid hormones, which control metabolism. ‘It’s vital for developing brains,’ says Lucy. ‘Pregnant or breastfeeding women need enough.’ Where to find it: The richest source is seafood. Dairy, turkey and eggs also have some. Seaweed is…

Folate

You’ll have heard of folic acid (the synthetic form of folate) supplements for pregnancy. ‘But folate is essential for women of all ages, regnant or not,’ says nutritionist Charlotte Turner (thebluetreeclinic.com). ‘It partners with vitamin B12 to make red blood cells and help nerves to function.’ Where to find it: Leafy greens, (folate leaches out when boiled, so steam…

Selenium

Over half of us don’t eat enough selenium. ‘It’s an antioxidant, and protects cells from damage,’ says Laura. ‘It also works with iodine to produce the right levels of thyroid hormone and is key to immune function.’ Where to find it: Brazil nuts are rich in the mineral, as re poultry, fish and eggs.