A nutritional deficiency is not as uncommon as you might think. No matter what diet regimen you’re following–the paleo diet, the ketogenic diet, dairy-free diet, Atkins, South Beach, Dukan–they can all leave unhealthy holes in a smart nutritional approach to what you eat. This could lead to nutritional and vitamin deficiencies which harm your health, both mentally and physically.
The following 8 nutritional deficiencies and their symptoms are the most common in the United States, and in other modern societies. Accompanying each deficiency is a list of the foods you can target for replacing the missing nutrient, mineral or vitamin.
Remember that in most cases a balanced diet including fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, fish like salmon or mackerel, and whole grains for a complete nutritional profile.
Iron Nutritional Deficiency
This is the most common nutritional deficiency. Iron is referred to as a vitamin, although it is not. It is a mineral which helps your body make red blood cells. A low-iron diet means your body can’t deliver oxygen properly. Eat beef, beans, oysters and spinach to improve your iron intake. Iron deficiency symptoms are pale skin, thin hair, and constant fatigue.
Vitamin B12 Nutritional Deficiency
Vitamin B12 is a vital component in the production of DNA. It is also important for manufacturing your brain’s signal sending system. Vegans often have a vitamin B12 deficiency. A B12 supplement or a diet rich in chicken, fish, milk and yogurt is the answer to providing this necessary nutrient. B12 deficiency symptoms are numb feet, legs and hands, balance problems, fatigue, swollen tongue, paranoia and loss of memory.
Magnesium Nutritional Deficiency
Magnesium helps you produce energy. It is also important for bone health. Some medications cause a low level of magnesium. Spinach, almonds, black beans, peanuts and cashews are extremely high in magnesium. Magnesium nutritional deficiency symptoms are weak appetite, fatigue, abnormal heartbeat, drastic personality changes, and muscle cramps.
Calcium Nutritional Deficiency
Calcium is linked to bone health. It is also crucial for proper nerve and muscle functioning. Two or three servings of yogurt or milk a day provides all the calcium you need. Cheese and dark leafy greens like kale deliver plenty of calcium as well. Calcium deficiency symptoms arefatigue, abnormal heartbeat, weak appetite and muscle cramps (symptoms are often vague).
Vitamin D Nutritional Deficiency
As with calcium, vitamin D is important for proper bone health. Food sources for vitamin D include yogurt and milk. This important nutrient is also found in salmon and tuna. Just 15 minutes of exposure from sunshine on your skin triggers your body to manufacture all the vitamin D you need each day. Vitamin D deficiency symptoms are aching muscles, weak bones, chronic weakness and fatigue (symptoms are often vague).
Potassium Nutritional Deficiency
Potassium is crucial if your heart, kidneys and major organs are going to work properly. Eating disorders, kidney disease and diarrhea are some known causes of potassium deficiency. Bananas, many vegetables, beans, peas and whole grains are potassium rich. Potassium nutritional deficiency symptoms are lack of strength, abnormal heartbeat, weight loss and constipation.
Folate Nutritional Deficiency
Folic acid is extremely important for women during their childbearing years. Women are recommended to take a folic acid supplement daily as long as they are able to have children. Fortified cereals, dark leafy greens, oranges and beans are all high in folate. Folate nutritional deficiency symptoms are prematurely gray hair, fatigue, swollen tongue, and and mouth ulcers.
Vitamin C Nutritional Deficiency
We mention vitamin C only because the modern-day diet often doesn’t supply enough. In most cases, this is a deficiency that does not lead to significant health conditions. It is important because it is related to healthy growth and repair of tissues throughout your body.
Oranges, kiwi, cantaloupe, grapefruit, watermelon, broccoli, green and red peppers, spinach and tomatoes all deliver high quantities of vitamin C. Severe deficiency in vitamin C is uncommon.
The above 8 vitamins and minerals make up the most commonly absent items in a modern-day diet. It is best to receive your nutrients and minerals from food whenever possible, but if you want some insurance for less than perfect eating habits or an extreme diet, consider high quality vitamin supplements like those at the Institute for Vibrant Living (IVL). Their supplements are formulated based scientific research, clinical trials, and case studies. You can check them out here for tips on how to use vitamin and mineral supplements to stay healthy.