A healthy diet provides your body with the nutrients it needs to keep you strong, happy, and able to live life to the fullest. According to the USDA, the five components of a healthy diet include fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy. Proper nutrition gives your body the tools it needs to fight disease, provide energy, perform well, and feel good. Missing out on key nutrients can you leave you sluggish and sickly. Here are 15 signs that your diet may be lacking in some of the necessary nutrients.
Sluggishness, fatigue, and general malaise are all signs your body may be missing key nutrients needed to maintain energy. Healthy fats, proteins, and complex carbohydrates all contribute to keeping your body alert and at peak performance. Fatigue sets in when your body is low in iron, protein, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, or vitamin C. If you find yourself exhausted and sluggish, make sure you are getting enough lean red meats, green leafy vegetables like broccoli or spinach, and citrus fruits.
14. Gastrointestinal Problems
If you find yourself gassy and bloated, particularly after ingesting dairy products, lactose intolerance may be the culprit. Additionally, constipation can be caused by dehydration, lack of fiber, or deficiencies in potassium, magnesium, and folic acid. Keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and be sure to include fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and legumes in your diet. Diarrhea can be a sign of vitamin B3 deficiency. Lean meats, fish, and whole wheat contain the vitamin B3 your body needs.
13. Feeling Cold or Chilled
If you find yourself reaching for a sweater while your coworkers are complaining about the heat, your diet may be affecting your thyroid. Your body turns the glucose from carbohydrates into the energy required to produce thyroid hormones. In turn, thyroid hormones maintain and regulate your body temperature. Rather than avoiding carbohydrates altogether, indulge in whole grains such as rolled oats, barley, and brown rice. A great way to get in some complex carbohydrates is to start your day with a bowl of whole-wheat bran flakes, shredded wheat, or oatmeal.
12. Pale or Yellow Skin
Pale or yellowish-tinted skin can be attributed to iron or vitamin B12 deficiency. A deficit in vitamin B12 means your body isn’t able to produce the red blood cells it needs to transport oxygen. As your hemoglobin breaks down into bilirubin, your skin and eyes can take on a yellow pallor. Lack of oxygen to your extremities and skin can also cause paleness. Meats such as beef liver and sardines are rich in iron and B vitamins. If you are vegetarian, lima beans, red kidney beans, spinach, or cereals enriched with iron can provide you with the iron you need.
11. Dry, Itchy Skin
Dry, itchy skin can indicate a lack of iron, vitamin B3, and essential fatty acids. Vitamin A is another nutrient that helps maintain healthy skin. Beef liver and salmon both contain the iron, B vitamins, and vitamin A your skin craves. Enjoy vegetables like sweet potatoes, winter squash, and kale to give your skin the vitamin A it requires to stay supple and protect your body. Drinking plenty of water also gives your skin the moisture it needs to maintain that healthy glow.
10. Bruising or Bleeding
Abnormal bruising or bleeding can be indicators your body isn’t getting the vitamin C it needs. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that contributes to skin health, immune function, and collagen synthesis in your body. Vitamin C is not stored in the body, so you need to enjoy vitamin C-rich foods regularly in order to reap the benefits. Oranges and lemons aren’t the only sources of vitamin C. Guavas, papayas, bell peppers, and broccoli all contain this necessary nutrient.
9. Cracking, Peeling Lips
Cracking, dry, and peeling lips as well as cracking at the corners of your mouth can indicate your diet is lacking in vitamin B12 and iron. The recommended dietary allowance of B12 for the average adult is 2.4 micrograms per day. According to Harvard Medical School, 3 ounces of salmon contains 4.9 micrograms of vitamin B12. Furthermore, 1 cup of fortified cereal provides 6 micrograms of vitamin B12.
8. Mouth Ulcers
Painful mouth ulcers or canker sores can indicate deficits in your diet. Mouth ulcers can be attributed to a lack of iron, vitamin B12, folic acid, and other B vitamins. 2.5 servings each day of lean red meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, or legumes will provide your body with the necessary iron and B vitamins it needs to keep the mucosa of your mouth intact.
7. Scalp Issues
Hair loss can be indicative of an iron deficiency. Dandruff may be caused by a lack of essential fatty acids and biotin. Essential fatty acids consist of the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids your body needs. Include fish, flax seed oil, and walnuts in your diet to provide your body with essential omega-3 fatty acids. Corn oil, safflower, and soybean oils contain the omega-6 fatty acids your body needs.
6. Nail Changes
If your nails have become dry, brittle, or flaky, you may need additional iron or essential fatty acids in your diet. Upturned or spoon-shaped nails are an indication of iron deficiency. For a delicious boost of iron, try a veggie stir fry with chicken or tofu. A savory vegetable and black bean soup is another flavorful source of iron.
5. Muscle Pain and Cramps
If you find yourself battling agonizing muscle cramps and pain, you may need to evaluate your diet. Magnesium, potassium, sodium, and B vitamins all contribute to healthy muscle function. Mashed avocado on whole wheat toast provides a delicious boost of magnesium and B vitamins. A banana served with whole grain bread and nut butter makes a yummy snack while providing nutrients that will prevent muscle cramps.
4. Poor Vision
Zinc and vitamin A are important for night vision. Furthermore, vitamin B12 promotes the healthy function of your retinal nerve. If your vision has become blurry, your nighttime vision is suffering, or your eyes are dry, you may be lacking in these important nutrients. Meats, dairy products, nuts, and legumes all contain the zinc necessary for good vision. While vitamin A is especially plentiful in liver and fish oils, you can also obtain it from sweet potatoes, carrots, and red peppers.
If you’ve been cutting back on calories, you may find yourself cranky and irritable. If you are going too long between meals, spikes and dips in your blood sugar may cause you to have mood swings. While you may think you should be avoiding carbohydrates, adding healthy carbohydrates to your diet can help combat these mood swings. Furthermore, carbohydrates can help you feel full, which decreases the cravings that lead to crankiness. Quinoa, sweet potatoes, and bananas are all healthy carbohydrate choices.
Depression can be linked to a diet deficient in vitamins C, B1, B3, B6, B12, folate, biotin, and essential fatty acids. If you find yourself feeling blue, avoid foods with added sugars or refined white flour. Indulge in colorful, antioxidant-rich berries, leafy green veggies, crunchy nuts or seeds, and protein-rich fish. For an extra treat, enjoy a piece of rich, dark chocolate. Dark chocolate containing 50-90 percent cocoa is rich in antioxidants and flavanols, which are good for your heart.
1. Memory Loss
Memory loss and difficulty concentrating can be attributed to a lack of iron, vitamins B1 and B12, folic acid, and essential fatty acids. Avoid saturated fats and replace them with nutrient-packed green veggies, fruits, and lean proteins. For a delicious, memory-boosting salad, mix kale, blueberries, walnuts, and sesame seeds with a tangy vinaigrette dressing.