A diet is considered as healthy and balanced when it includes all the essential nutrients. Nutrients such as Iron, magnesium, Vitamins, etc play a vital role in our lives. All the nutrients are necessary for the many bodily functions of our body. Moreover, a lot of them even prevent and treat various diseases. Even if we are extremely health conscious, we usually don't include all the nutrients in our diet routine. You can take guidance from a dietician to make a suitable schedule suitable for your body. Each and every nutrient has a different part to play and their deficiency can also result in harmful symptoms. People who have less amount of nutrients in their body can make small changes in their lifestyle and combat this issue. Every food contains significant amount of vitamins and minerals, that can be beneficial for your health. Therefore, read this article further to know about the most common nutrient deficiencies and their best sources.
Common nutrient deficiencies
A nutritional deficiency occurs mainly when the body is not able to absorb the appropriate amount of a nutrient. Deficiencies can cause several health problems including poor digestion, skin problems, weak or defective bone growth, and even dementia. So, here are 6 common nutrient deficiencies and their best sources:
1. Iron deficiency
Around 25 percent of the population in the entire world has an iron deficiency. It is a necessary nutrient for oxygen rich blood. Iron is one of the most important components of red blood cells, as it helps in transporting oxygen in the whole body. The deficiency of this nutrient is mostly seen in small children and menstruating women because of the monthly blood loss. Vegetarian and vegan people are at a higher risk of having an iron deficiency as they do not eat any animal-based foods. Too much iron deficiency in the human body can result in anemia, fatigue and interrupted brain function. The best sources of iron are red meat, shellfish, beans, seeds, and green leafy vegetables.
2. Iodine deficiency
Iodine deficiency is also common in people and this nutrient is important for the thyroid gland function and for the production of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones help in the growth of the body, bones and brain development. The most common symptom of Iodine deficiency is enlargement of the thyroid gland, which is also called goiter. It may also result in breathlessness and weight gain. In children, severe iodine deficiency can lead to retardation and developmental problems. The best sources of iodine are seaweed, fish, dairy products and eggs.
3. Magnesium deficiency
Just like calcium, magnesium is also important for your bones and teeth. It is responsible for maintaining their structure. Deficiency of this nutrient is linked to many severe health problems including type 2 diabetes, metabolic problems and heart disease, and osteoporosis. The other symptoms of magnesium deficiency are abnormal heart rate, muscle cramps and spasms, fatigue, and migraines. The best sources of magnesium are whole grains, nuts, dark chocolate, dark green leafy vegetables.
4. Vitamin D deficiency
Sunlight and egg yolks are the two best sources of Vitamin D in the human body. Vitamin D is fat soluble and plays the role of a steroid hormone in the body. It goes to many cells of the body through the blood and is responsible for gene regulation. Every cell of the body has a receptor for Vitamin D. There can be a high risk of fractures and muscle and bone weakness are major symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. You should get ample amount of sunlight exposure to recover from this nutrient deficiency.
5. Calcium deficiency
Calcium plays a major role in bone and teeth formation, and is also important to keep your bones healthy. It is necessary for every cell and is required for all the body functions. The amount of calcium in our blood is highly regulated, and excess of this nutrient is stored in the bones. The most common symptom of calcium deficiency is osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones are extremely soft and weak. Best sources of calcium are dairy products, dark green vegetables such as kale, spinach, and broccoli.
6. Vitamin B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 is an important vitamin for blood formation and brain and nervous system function. However, the main problem is that our body cannot produce B12 on its own and we need to get it from our diet and supplements. The major source of Vitamin B12 are animal-based food products, so this deficiency is mostly seen in vegetarians and vegans. This nutrient deficiency can result in megaloblastic anemia, which is a blood disorder that expands the red blood cells. The best sources of Vitamin B12 are shellfish, meat, eggs and milk products.
So, these were some common nutrient deficiencies that a person can have. However, it is also possible to be deficient in almost every nutrient mentioned above. Children, older adults, vegetarians, and vegans usually are at a greater risk if developing a group of nutritional deficiencies. So, the best way to prevent any nutrient deficiency is to consume a balanced diet that includes whole, nutrient dense foods. But, supplements might also be good for those who cannot get enough from diet alone.
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