Experts all over the world advocate the importance of eating a well-balanced diet full of nutrition. It has to be a combination of fruits, lean proteins, vegetables, fats, and carbohydrates. In addition, a balanced diet needs to be coupled with regular exercise to maintain optimal health and build a robust immune system.
A healthy and balanced diet has a proper inclusion of minerals, vitamins, and all other nutrients needed for the proper functioning of the body. But, unfortunately, a lot of people suffer from deficiencies in these essential nutrients. It is primarily due to the western diet full of red meat, packaged and processed foods, and saturated fats and snacks. In addition, the diet comprises very few fruits and vegetables.
A deficiency of these nutrients can cause many health problems, including night blindness, fatigue, osteoporosis, acne, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Therefore, it would help if you did not ignore these symptoms. The most common deficiencies include magnesium, calcium, fatty acids, iron, folic acid, and vitamins A, C, B12, and D. These can be controlled through timely monitoring and taking care of your diet, consuming dietary supplements, and consulting the healthcare provider.
Most common deficiencies:
The most common deficiencies include magnesium, calcium, fatty acids, iron, folic acid, and vitamins A, C, B12, and D.
Vitamin A is vital for replenishing skin cells and aids in perfect vision and an improved immune system. People suffering from a vitamin-A deficiency have a low immune system and can acquire infection easily. In addition, vitamin A deficiency may lead to night blindness.
Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in forming red blood cells. It improves all the neurological functions of the body and acts as a building block for the body’s DNA. Vitamin B12 deficiency is generally found in vegans as they have restricted diet, in people having intestinal problems, old adults, and people on heartburn medicines. You may feel fatigued, have shortness of breath, pale skin, and mood changes if you are B 12 deficient.
Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant to relieve the damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin C majorly aids in amino acid formation, regulates collagen production, iron absorption, and improves immunity. Vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy that leads to bleeding gums, weakness, easy bruising, fatigue, difficulty healing wounds, and rashes.
Our bodies produce Vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium in the body. The body cannot absorb Calcium if you have a Vitamin D deficiency that leads to weak bones. Vitamin D is vital for bone health, testosterone production, cardiovascular health, and immunity.
Iron deficiencies are also widespread, especially in females. It can be caused due to not consuming iron-rich foods, iron loss because of blood loss, or in stages of pregnancy, adolescence, or breastfeeding. Iron deficiency causes anemia, leading to fatigue, dizziness, headaches, pale skin, muscle weakness, and chest pain. Pregnant women must get their iron levels checked regularly.
Magnesium is needed for all metabolic reactions like performing muscle and nerve functions. A lot of Americans do not consume a magnesium-rich diet. Magnesium deficiency may lead to muscle cramps, numbness, abnormal heartbeats, and high blood pressure.
Calcium acts as the building block that builds strong bones. It is also needed for heart health and proper nerve and muscle function. Calcium deficiency leads to weak bones. Consuming many caffeinated beverages, soda, alcohol, beans, dark leafy greens, and whole grains can reduce calcium absorption in the body. You may experience mottled teeth, weak bones, numbness in the hand, or muscle cramps if you are Calcium deficient.
Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acid deficiency is caused due to low omega-3 consumption. You may experience brittle or cracking nails, scaly skin, and acne if you are deficient in essential fatty acids.
Folic acid is a part of the vitamin B group. It is vital for maintaining red blood cell count. It is imperative for older people to monitor the same during pregnancy because women having a deficiency of folic acid have a risk of having a neural tube defect. Folic acid also helps to control anemia and heart ailments. If the diet does not include many fruits and vegetables, then the risk of folate deficiency increases. You may experience fatigue, hair loss, lethargy, and shortness of breath if you are folate deficient.
Check For Your Diet
Getting proper nutrients from what you eat is essential. You must avoid processed foods, junk foods, and sugars to avoid a deficiency. You can get the desired amount of nutrients with the inclusion of the following food items:
- Vitamin A: Richest sources of Vitamin A are Spinach, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, mangoes, carrots, eggs, papayas, and milk.
- Vitamin B12: You can include meat, eggs, poultry, fish, and dairy products in your diet to get the needed dose of Vitamin B12.
- Vitamin C: The diet must include Citrus fruits, cauliflower, broccoli, kiwi, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, kale, and strawberries.
- Vitamin D: The best source is sunlight. You may also include Fatty fish, egg yolks, and beef liver in the diet.
- Calcium: All dairy products are a rich source of Calcium. You may also include calcium-fortified juice and green leafy vegetables in the diet.
- Folic acid: Eggs, fruits, leafy green vegetables, beans, and peas are rich sources of Folic acid. Pregnant women must include the same in their diet.
- Essential fatty acids: Flaxseed, Coldwater fish, and olive oil are rich sources of essential fatty acids. You can conveniently incorporate them into the diet.
- Iron: Many dairy products, egg yolks, fatty fish, red meat, beans, and legumes are rich sources of iron.
- Magnesium: Few magnesium-rich food options include Pumpkin seeds, beans, leafy green vegetables, legumes, and grains.
You can further enrich a balanced and healthy diet by adding a few food supplements or multivitamins. You may do so after consulting your healthcare provider to let you know the best supplement for your body.
You may face a nutrient deficiency. Children, women, old people, and vegans are facing a significant risk of such deficiencies.
You can prevent the deficiency by adopting a balanced diet, including whole grains, nutrient-rich foods, and a lot of greens. Eat healthily and stay happy!