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Updated: May 2, 2021

A healthy diet is crucial to having a healthy body. When your body receives the nutrients it needs, it functions optimally and results in increased energy, better sleep patterns, improved immune system function, and much more. When your body is lacking in nutrients, it will often reveal signs of malnourishment, which is your body’s way of letting you know that you need to improve your eating patterns.

In this video I am going to share the common signs that indicate your body may be suffering from nutritional deficiency and foods you can include in your diet to overcome this deficiency.

1. Hair loss & Balding

Hair loss is a very common symptom. In fact, up to 50% of adults report hair loss by the time they reach 50 years of age. Hair loss can actually be a sign of major nutritional deficiency, and indicates your body could be low in iron, zinc, vitamin B, fatty omega-3 acids, and folic acid. A diet rich in the following nutrients may help prevent or slow hair loss

  • Iron. This mineral is involved in DNA synthesis, including that of the DNA present in hair follicles. Too little iron can cause hair to stop growing or fall out

  • Zinc. This mineral is essential for protein synthesis and cell division, two processes needed for hair growth. As such, zinc deficiency may cause hair loss.

Meat, fish, eggs, legumes, dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are good sources of iron and zinc.

2. Scaly patches and dandruff

Seborrheic dermatitis (SB) and dandruff are part of the same group of skin disorders that affects the oil-producing areas of your body. Stubborn dandruff and scaly patches on the scalp, eyebrows, ears, eyelids, and chest may be caused by low intake of zinc, niacin, riboflavin, and pyridoxine. Adding these nutrients to the diet may help reduce symptoms.

Dandruff may be caused by many factors, with a nutrient-poor diet being one of them. For instance, low blood levels of zinc, niacin (vitamin B3), riboflavin (vitamin B2), and pyridoxine (vitamin B6) may each play a role. Foods rich in niacin, riboflavin, and pyridoxine include whole grains, poultry, meat, fish, eggs, dairy, organ meats, legumes, green vegetables, starchy vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Seafood, meat, legumes, dairy, nuts, and whole grains are all good sources of zinc

3. Brittle hair and nails

A variety of factors may cause brittle hair and nails. One of them is a lack of biotin.

Biotin is a B vitamin involved in many body functions. It plays an important role in strengthening hair and nails. A deficiency in this vitamin is generally rare but may occur in certain cases. Biotin also known as vitamin B7, helps the body convert food into energy. A deficiency in biotin is very rare, but when it occurs, brittle, thinning, or splitting hair and nails are some of the most noticeable symptoms. Other symptoms of biotin deficiency include chronic fatigue, muscle pain, cramps, and tingling in the hands and feet.

Foods rich in biotin include egg yolks, organ meats, fish, meat, dairy, nuts, seeds, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, yeast, whole grains, and bananas

4. White spots on nails

White spots and ridges on your nails indicate signs of mineral deficiencies most specifically iron and zinc. Biting your nails is another sign of mineral deficiency. To add more iron to your diet, increase your intake of foods such as dark, leafy greens, beans, lentils, and artichokes. To add more zinc to your diet, boost your intake of foods such as garlic, nuts, and seeds.

5. Mouth ulcers or cracks in the corners of the mouth

Lesions in and around the mouth may be partly be linked to an insufficient intake of certain vitamins or minerals. For instance, mouth ulcers, also commonly referred to as canker sores, are often the result of deficiencies in iron or B vitamins, thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), and pyridoxine (vitamin B6). Foods rich in iron include poultry, meat, fish, legumes, dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Good sources of thiamine, riboflavin, and pyridoxine include whole grains, poultry, meat, fish, eggs, dairy, organ meats, legumes, green vegetables, starchy vegetables, nuts, and seeds. If you experience these symptoms, try adding the foods above to your diet to see if your symptoms improve.

6. Bleeding gums

Sometimes a rough tooth brushing technique is at the root of bleeding gums, but a diet lacking in vitamin C can also be to blame. Vitamin C plays an important role in wound healing and immunity, and it even acts as an antioxidant, helping prevent cell damage.

Your body does not make vitamin C on its own, so the only way to maintain adequate levels of it is through diet. Vitamin C deficiencies are rare in individuals who consume enough fresh fruits and vegetables. That said, many people fail to eat enough fruits and vegetables each day. Another serious consequence of severe vitamin C deficiency is scurvy, which depresses the immune system, weakens muscles and bones, and makes people feel fatigued and lethargic. Other common signs of vitamin C deficiency include easy bruising, slow wound healing, dry scaly skin, and frequent nosebleeds. Make sure to consume enough vitamin C by eating at least 2 pieces of fruit and 3–4 portions of vegetables each day.

7. Poor night vision and white growths on the eyes

A nutrient-poor diet can sometimes cause vision problems. For instance, low intakes of vitamin A are often linked to a condition known as night blindness, which reduces people’s ability to see in low light or darkness. That’s because vitamin A is necessary to produce rhodopsin, a pigment found in the retinas of the eyes that helps you see at night. Fortunately, vitamin A deficiency is rare in developed countries. Those who suspect their vitamin A intake is insufficient can try eating more vitamin-A-rich foods, such as organ meats, dairy, eggs, fish, dark leafy greens, and yellow-orange coloured vegetables.

Unless diagnosed with a deficiency, most people should avoid taking vitamin A supplements. That’s because vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, which, when consumed in excess, can accumulate in the body’s fat stores and become toxic. Symptoms of vitamin A toxicity can be serious and include nausea, headaches, skin irritation, joint and bone pain, and, in severe cases, even coma or death

8. Tingling or numbness in hands and feet

Some people associate tingling or numbness in the hands and feet with having limbs “fall asleep,” but in reality, tingling and numbness is associated with a major deficiency in vitamin B. Those who frequently experience these symptoms should increase their intake of folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12.

Consult with your physician about taking supplements if you feel you’re unable to get the amount of vitamins and minerals your body needs from food alone. Your doctor will be able to provide you with information about the amount of daily vitamins your body needs to stay healthy, and may even be able to recommend certain brands of supplements.

9. Muscle cramps (especially calf muscles)

Experiencing muscle cramps at night time, especially in your calf muscles, is an indication that your body is lacking in magnesium. Magnesium deficiency can often result in muscle cramps, eye twitching, fatigue, and tingling in the muscles, and can also cause muscle spasms. Dark, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, fish, beans, lentils, and bananas are all examples of foods rich in magnesium.

If you would like to discuss how nutrition can help treat your chronic health problems naturally, then click here to book a free 15min consultation with me.

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