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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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