Nutrients are an important part of our daily diet to stay in good health. We can find many of the nutrients in foods like vegetables, fruits, and meat. So making a consistent effort in choosing nutritional foods will protect us from nutrient deficiencies and other diseases.
What is Nutrient Deficiency?
When your body doesn’t get the required amount of nutrients needed, you have a high chance of having Nutrient Deficiency.
There are many diseases caused by this deficiency like pellagra, rickets, anemia, scurvy, etc. That is why we must take all the necessary vitamins and minerals our body needs.
There are many types of Nutrient Deficiencies globally, and below, we will be discussing some of the most common nutrient deficiencies that we need to be aware of.
Common Nutrient Deficiencies
Calcium is commonly known for its bone strengthening and flexibility properties. Still, there are also other important features that calcium works as, like maintaining proper heart health and muscle and nerve function.
People that are at a higher risk of having calcium deficiencies are vegans, postmenopausal women, and people who are lactose intolerant. People who go through this deficiency can experience muscle weakness, cramping, fatigue, chest pains, etc.
Food Intake: dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt, etc., are the most popular when it comes to food with high sources of calcium. Besides that, they are also found in leafy vegetables, mostly dark greens, fish, and beverages with high calcium.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Our body can produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight naturally. So through exposure to a proper amount of sunlight, we can recover vitamin D deficiencies.
Sunlight has many benefits like preventing weight gain, reducing chances of cancer, reducing stress, improving sleep, and is considered one of the primary sources of vitamin D.
When people go through this deficiency, they might experience depression, weakness, fatigue, severe cases, improper growth, or improper formation of bones. Usually, older adults and people with dark skin have more chances of this deficiency.
Food Intake: besides sunlight, you can get vitamin D through foods like egg yolks, red meats, oily fish, and mushrooms.
The most common nutrient deficiency is known to be Iron deficiency. This deficiency is most common among young children, women because of their menstrual cycle, and vegans and vegetarians as they don’t consume anything related to the animal.
Iron is an essential nutrient as it helps generate red blood cells, which helps in carrying oxygen.
If you have iron deficiency, fatigue is one of the common signs, along with symptoms like a weakened immune system. So the detection of it in the early stages decreases your chances of any infection and helps in proper development and growth.
Food Intake: consume rich in iron like red meats, organs, turkey, fish, vegetables like green vegetables, pumpkin, different types of seeds and beans, and fruits like pomegranate, banana, and apples.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
A water-soluble vitamin, Vitamin D, is important for the formation of blood and DNA and the good functioning of the brain and neurotransmitters. This deficiency causes you to have a blood disorder called megaloblastic anemia, where the red blood cells are enlarged.
Vegetarians or vegans are more susceptible to this deficiency and may experience problems with balance while walking, mood changes, difficulty thinking, and shortness of breath, weakness, and numbness.
Food Intake: like most of the vitamins, we cannot produce our vitamin B12, which is a problem, so we have to get it through foods that are rich in Vitamin B12 like dairy products, fish, livers, meat, eggs, etc.
Vitamin A Deficiency
According to World Health Organisation, Vitamin A deficiency is the common reason for preventable blindness.
This vitamin is essential for good eye health, and its deficiency also results in stunted growth in children. Besides eye health, it also helps in developing a healthy immune system and skin cell replacement.
The most common reason for this deficiency is when this vitamin is not taken adequately for a long time. This deficiency also results when the nutrients are not absorbed by the gut. Vitamin A deficiency results in problems like frequent infections, night blindness, and dry eyes or skin.
Food Intake: when taking vitamin A foods, remember to add many greens, yellow and orange fruits, and vegetables like broccoli, carrots, spinach, papayas, and mangoes—also other foods like eggs, cheese, milk, and fish.
An enlarged thyroid gland is a common feature of iodine deficiency. Iron is important for producing thyroid hormones which help in the proper growth and development of the brain, body, and bones.
Other symptoms of iron deficiency include constipation, weight gain, sensitivity to cold, weakness, fatigue, etc. In serious cases, it can also cause developmental problems and mental retardation.
Food Intake: dairy products and seafood are rich sources of iodine. The usage of iodized salt has helped tremendously in keeping iodine deficiency in check, so you can also add this in your daily food intake but make sure that these nutrients are consumed in a balanced amount.
Some Signs of Nutrient Deficiency
- Eyesight power could decrease over time, especially your night vision
- You might feel sore in your body or bones
- Your hands and feet will start feeling numb
- Burning sensation in your tongue or feet
- Frequent extreme hair loss
- Cuts and bruises take time to heal
- Your heartbeat is not stable, beating irregularly
To protect yourself from nutrient deficiencies, all you have to do is eat a healthy diet that gives you an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals that your body needs (1).
Also, make sure to keep the workings of your body in check, and if you find any signs or symptoms that indicate a nutrient deficiency, it is best if you consult with a doctor and take adequate measures.
When it comes to Nutrient deficiency, not only is eating healthy important but maintaining that habit and being consistent will give you good health.
If that is not enough for your body, then you can include vitamin-rich supplements in your diet.