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85% of Americans Suffer from Malnutrition Without Even Knowing It. Are You One of Them?

85% of Americans Suffer from Malnutrition Without Even Knowing It. Are You One of Them?

Malnutrition doesn’t just happen to those in deprived circumstances.

The term “malnutrition” tends to conjure up images of people who live in less economically developed countries and suffer from food shortages. We rarely consider the possibility that those living in affluent countries could also be malnourished, but due to our modern dietary patterns, it is important to be alert to the signs and symptoms of nutritional deprivation.

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But, how can a rich person become malnourished?

Just because a person ingests a sufficient number of calories on a regular basis does not mean that they are meeting all of their nutritional requirements. It is possible to maintain a normal or even high body mass yet fail to eat the kinds of food the body needs, which can result in malnutrition.

The Consequences of Malnutrition

A malnourished individual will not be able to live up to their full physical and mental potential. This is particularly important in the case of young children, who will not make the appropriate mental, physical and educational gains that they need to succeed in life if they do not receive a balanced diet. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, 85% of Americans do not consume adequate quantities of common vitamins and other nutrients needed to support all-round health. Malnourished individuals are more likely to suffer physical and mental illness. This has a knock-on effect for the economy, with work-based productivity impacted as a result.

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Which nutrients do American people miss out on?

Fiber, vitamins, minerals, and Omega-3 are among the most important nutrients missing from the typical American diet. Weakness, tiredness, and a susceptibility to increased infections are among the key signs to watch for. If you experience these symptoms on a regular basis, it is time to review your diet and take a trip to your physician for a checkup.

Fiber

A deficiency in fiber can lead to constipation and digestive sluggishness, which in turn can increase risk of hemorrhoids and colon cancer. Improve your fiber intake by eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. Try some delicious smoothie recipes to make increasing your fruit intake simple.

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Vitamins

Vitamins D, E, and A are required for healthy brain, skeletal, and immune functioning and are commonly underrepresented in the typical American diet. Along with regular exposure to sunlight, eating fortified cereal and dairy products a couple of times per day is the best way to ensure that you get enough Vitamin D. Vitamin E is important in supporting the immune system, skin, and eyes. Almonds, avocado, and spinach are great sources of this nutrient. Finally, Vitamin A is necessary for healthy vision. It is found in many vegetables including carrots and butternut squash. Learn how to cook some tasty vegetable-based dishes to boost your intake.

Minerals

Minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium are key in the maintenance of a healthy nervous system. Nuts, seeds, dairy, and lean meats are great sources of magnesium and calcium whereas potassium is found in bananas, avocado, spinach, and coconut water.

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Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are important in managing blood pressure and safeguarding heart health. Key sources include cod liver oil, soybean oil, and flaxseed oil. Sardines and salmon are other great sources. Check out some salmon-based recipes here.

How can you track your nutrition?

Fortunately, there are easy ways to check your nutritional intake. For example, using an app such as Myfitness Pal can help you gain an overview of your daily consumption of key nutrients and help you make changes as required. It may seem daunting at first, but making a few adjustments to your daily diet and trying a few new recipes can help you become much healthier.

Featured photo credit: meta-chart via meta-chart.com

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Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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