Detecting Nutritional Deficiencies
By Nmami Agarwal
Food choices and dietary preferences in today’s time have become more about quantity rather than the quality. More and more people are falling prey to their taste buds, where the number one goal is to satiate the taste senses and have a feel good factor about it, and unfortunately nutrition has taken a back seat. This has led to an era where many people go about their daily lives carrying a baggage of deficiency of many important nutrients. The sure shot way to diagnose these nutritional deficiencies is certainly a blood test, but your body gives you signals the moment it feels something is lacking in the diet. Let’s try de-decoding these deficiency signals and know what can be done to counter them:
- Hair fall – While it is normal to lose around fifty to hundred hair strands each day, if your hair fall is way much more despite all the external products or spas or treatments that you use, it is time to look for the causes inside the body. Excess hair fall can be triggered by Iron deficiency, which is also touted as the most common deficiency in the world. Those who have iron deficiency anaemia, coeliac disease, or post-menopausal women, and vegans or vegetarians are considered to be at high risk of developing iron deficiency. The deficiency of zinc in the diet can also lead to hair loss. Deficiency of Vitamin D is also well-linked to excessive hair fall. Another important Vitamin is Biotin; its deficiency can lead to alopecia and loss of hair in the form of patches from scalp or other parts of body. Malnutrition of protein can also lead to excessive hair fall.
Get your dose of Iron from: Spinach, lentils, chickpeas, nuts & seeds, chicken and fish.
Get your dose of Vitamin D from – Tuna fish, Salmon Fish, Egg Yolk, and Fortified Soy Milk
Get your dose of Biotin from- Egg yolks, Avocados, Nuts& Seeds, Salmon, Dairy, and Sweet Potato.
- Frequent Cramps in Legs- If you experience cramping in your calf muscles quite often, or you constantly experience stabbing sensation in your toes, or some form of numbness in your legs on a regular basis, then you need to consider the deficiency of three important minerals, which are- Magnesium, Potassium, and Calcium. Magnesium and Potassium work closely with Calcium, to support nerve functions, and maintenance of body fluids. Calcium is involved in muscle contractions, and generation of nerve impulses. Muscle twitches and muscle tremors are caused due to Magnesium deficiency.
Get your dose of Magnesium from – Spinach, Kale, Chickpeas, Kidney Beans, Broccoli, and Salmon.
Get your dose of Potassium from- Bananas, Spinach, Broccoli, Sweet Potato, Mushrooms, and Winter Squash.
- Brittle Nails- Flaky nails that can easily tear down or peel off horizontally is because of a medical condition known as onychoschizia. It is also known as “brittle nail syndrome”. Nutritional deficiencies of Biotin, Iron, and Zinc have been implicated to contribute to this condition. Biotin is a type of Vitamin B and it contributes to the thickness of nails. Zinc, an important dietary mineral works by keeping the nails strong. Nails are made of cells that divide and grow rapidly, and to support their growth, an adequate supply of Zinc is needed. Iron keeps the nails in proper shape and prevents their distortion into spoon-shaped nails, which is again a marker for detecting Iron deficiency.
Get your dose of Zinc from – Pumpkin seeds, Sesame seeds, Avocados, Prunes, Chickpeas, and Lamb.
- Dark Circles- Nobody wants to wake up to a set of racoon-eyes, right? But the problems of dark circles have become fairly common these days. Apart from irregular sleep and constant usage of phones, an unhealthy diet can lead to darkness under the eyes. Deficiency of iron can lead to dark circles because iron carries oxygen, and a lack of oxygen can lead to poor circulation all across the body, including the under eye area- making it appear darker than normal. Vitamin K is a crucial vitamin that is required for proper clotting and coagulation functions within the body. It assists healing processes in the body, and can diminish the signs of dark circles if taken in the recommended amounts on a daily basis.
Get your dose of Vitamin K from – Turnips, Swiss chard, Kale, Spinach, Broccoli, Cabbage, and Parsley.
Over to you:
If you experience any of the symptoms that are listed above, you know you need to work upon your diet and build an optimum intake of essential Vitamins & Minerals in your body. Before you consider a blood test for nutritional deficiencies, try consuming a healthy diet first and then wait for the symptoms to subside. Your food intake can be a really powerful way of naturally medicating your body.
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