Finding the right balance in your diet is no easy task. Eating all the right things, taking supplements, and also getting adequate exercise are precursors to a healthy lifestyle, but it’s certainly easier said than done.
No matter how whole our choices are and how good we are at consuming the right foods in the right quantities, there’s still more for us to discover about what we’re putting into our bodies. Signs of nutrient deficiency can arrive even when you feel like you’ve been doing a good job taking care of yourself.
Here are some signs to look out for and how best to respond.
Being unusually tired and fatigued is a symptom of an iron deficiency. Low levels of red blood cells are responsible for the deficiency, and can ultimately lead to anemia. Anemia is the most common blood condition in the United States, especially in older adults with poor diet habits or women who are pregnant, whose bodies have a higher demand for blood supply.
Dietary supplements can be an excellent source of iron. Implementing them into your diet can help bring more energy into your day and keep anemia far at bay.
2. Brittle Hair
Since hair is made up of protein, a lack of protein in your diet can lead to brittle and dry hair, or even hair loss. Yes, brittle hair and hair loss can simply be symptoms of aging. But admitting to yourself that “I must be getting old” might be a lazy excuse.
It’s important to maintain a healthy balance of protein and essential fatty acids and iron at all ages. Fish is an excellent source of all these essentials. If you’re vegetarian or vegan and fish isn’t an option, integrate more flaxseed, canola oils, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and chia seeds into your routine consumption.
3. Cracked Mouth
Inadequate amounts of protein, B-vitamins, iron and zinc can also result in cracked and inflammed corners of the mouth. As described earlier, be sure that you’re getting enough of these in your diet. This might prove more difficult for vegans and vegetarians, though.
Protein, iron, and B-Vitamins may be hard to come by in diets that don’t include meats, fish and poultry. Be sure to fill in the blanks with foods rich in these nutrients, including beans, quinoa, tofu, sprout-grained bread, and more.
Just because your acne went away just in time for prom doesn’t mean that it could never come back again. Red or white bumps on your thighs, arms, or cheeks can be signs of a Vitamin A and Vitamin D deficiency.
Leafy green vegetables, sweet potatoes, bell peppers and squash are bountiful in Vitamin A. Cantaloupe melons, mangos, and dried apricots and peaches also pack a hefty Vitamin A punch. Take it all in while your outside to get your Vitamin D from sunlight. If it’s a cloudy day, then eggs, mushrooms, cheese, fortified dairy products, and fatty fish will help fill the Vitamin D void.
5. Muscle Cramps
This is another one of those things we assume happen just because we’re getting older. However, muscle cramps can be indication of deficiency in potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
When this happens, almonds and hazelnuts can help ease the symptom away. Apples, kale, spinach, squash, and broccoli are also allies in the fight against muscle cramps.
6. Mood Swings
Mood swings are signs of nutrient deficiency and should be taken seriously. While other factors do impede moods, a lack of proper nutrients may be the root of the problem. Fill up on the right foods and supplements, and stick with a routine. Falling out of a routine and returning back to bad eating habits can lead to depression settling in again.
Even when things get tough, remind yourself that overeating and loading up on sugary foods is only doing your tongue a favor. A fleeting resolution like that can consequently make your mood worse. Treat your body right with whole foods filled with nutrients, and do New Year’s resolution that lasts for the first two weeks of January.