As all people have individual eating habits it is kind of difficult to predict what’s going into our bodies or the effects it will have on our health, wellness and mood. This could actually result in various types of deficiencies, even with good intentions. The reasons for this are restrictions that include the tools to monitor, the time to study every food and the knowledge of your individual and ideal nutrient requirement. When they aggregate over a long period of time, the negative influence on the health emphasizes. This is why it’s important for us to know what to look out for and how to make beneficial changes to get the necessary nutrition that we need.
As always you should vary the foods (and colors of food) that you consume so you’re getting a balance of nutrients, and only consume in moderation. As far as the deficiency is not health, the same refers to over-consuming vitamins. But today we will talk about the action plan in case of the lack of certain vitamins.
Here’s a list of the most common vitamin deficiencies, the signs of a deficiency, the long term effects, how to introduce the vitamins into your diet and the benefits of doing so.
1. Vitamin A
This vitamin maintains eye and skin health, reproductive health, the immune system and bone growth. It also supports cell growth, playing a critical role in the normal formation and maintenance of the heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs. The deficiency can be identified through persistent skin conditions such as acne; dry, scaly skin and hair, throat infections and mouth ulcers and in extreme cases struggling to see at night or in low light ‘night blindness’. If the deficiency is long-term, it could possibly lead to blindness, higher maternal mortality rate for pregnant women or increased susceptibility and severity from infections.
Foods containing high level of vitamin A are: beef liver, spinach, kale, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkins, apricots, papaya and peach. Make sure you include them in your diet plan.
2. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12aids the production of DNA, red cells and neurotransmitters in the brain. The deficiency signs include numbness in the legs, hands or feet; problems with walking or balance; fatigue; weakness; swollen, inflamed tongue; memory loss; paranoia; and hallucinations. Some possible long term effects include anemia, loss of touch, dementia, anxiety, depression.
Foods containing high level of vitamin B12 are: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, yoghurt or foods fortified with B12.
3. Vitamin D
The researches say that over 50% of the people lack the vitamin D. It helps regulate calcium and phosphate levels to maximize the development of bones and teeth and contributes to the maintenance of teeth and bone health. The signs of deficiency are quite familiar to all who live in big cities and work in the office: fatigue, muscle aches, bone and joint pain, weakness, low mood and gut trouble. And long-term deficiency can lead to softening of the bones, stunted or defective bone growth, depression.
Foods containing high level of vitamin D are: beef liver, cheese, oily fish, eggs, foods fortified with vitamin D.
4. Vitamin E
Needless to say that vitamin E is a key for healthy skin and eyes, it bolsters the immune system to protect against toxins and cell damage and helps to build strong healthy muscles. Studies have also indicated it can help with cataracts, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease. People experience such effects of its deficiency: leg cramps, slow healing of tissues, muscle weakness, dry hair, decrease in sex drive. With time it could even lead to anemia, reproductive disorders, loss of hair, cataracts, neurological damage, gastrointestinal diseases.
Foods containing high level of vitamin E are: almonds, sunflower seeds, tofu, spinach, hazelnuts, olive oil, broccoli and shellfish.
The official stats shows that over 30% of the world’s population suffers from anemia which is caused by an iron deficiency. Iron increases the production and effectiveness of red blood cells, that transport oxygen around the body. Not enough iron makes you feel fatigue, results in pale skin and dull hair. As specified above, the serious long-term effects is anemia.
Foods containing high level of iron are: beef, other red meats, eggs, beans, oysters, lentils, spinach and iron-fortified products such as cereal.
Calcium maintains healthy bones and teeth, helps the heart, nerves and muscles function properly. Its deficiency results in fatigue, muscle cramps and poor appetite. But long-term effects are a lot more serious:, osteoporosis, convulsions, abnormal heart rhythms and in the most extreme cases death. Make sure you consume enough calcium-containing products.
Foods containing high level of calcium are: milk, yoghurt, cheese, dark leafy greens. There are also calcium-fortified products that you can buy.
Its primary function is to help build muscles by synthesizing proteins. Potassium controls the electrical activity of the heart and keeps essential body fluids such as the water and acid balanced in cells. It assists in the function of kidneys, heart and other vital body organs. This results in a reduced risk of stroke, lowers blood pressure, maintains both muscle mass and bone density. The signs of deficiency include: muscle weakness, weight loss, dry skin, constipation, nausea, vomiting. When aggregated it can lead to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, paralysis and abnormal heart rhythms.
Foods containing high level of potassium are: bananas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, avocado, mushrooms, whole grains, yoghurt, tomatoes, beans and peas.
Magnesium supports bone and teeth health and is vital in energy production. It also activates muscles and nerves, regulates temperature and detoxifies the body. You can identify its deficiency when feeling the loss of appetite, headaches, nausea, vomiting, cramping, constipation, fatigue and weakness. The further the worse: type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis, heart disease, abnormal heart rhythms, personality changes, asthma and colon cancer.
Foods containing high level of magnesium are: black beans, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, edamame, spinach, dark chocolate and seeds.
Folate helps create red blood cells, contributes to the production of DNA, brain development and nerve system function. The symptoms of folate deficiency include grey hair, mouth ulcers and a swollen tongue. But it also might result in the reduction in total number of cells including large red blood cells and neural tube defects in an unborn child. Birth defects, anemia and growth problems are the worst consequences.
Foods containing high level of folate are: beans, lentils, pork, poultry, shellfish, leafy greens, citrus fruits and fortified cereals.
Most importantly Iodine supports healthy functioning of the thyroid. It also maintains energy levels and contributes to healthy hair, teeth and nails. The lack of iodine results in abnormal weight gain, constipation, poor perception levels and coarse skin. If not treated you can experience depression or even reduction in mental capacity.
Foods containing high level of iodine are: seaweed, fish, shellfish.