July 25, 2012
The 5 Most Common Nutritional Deficiencies and How to Avoid Them
Nutritional deficiencies are incredibly common in the everyday population. General malaise is a common complaint across society. Almost everybody could benefit from increased energy, less stress and improved nails, skin and hair condition. Some simple changes to your diet could go a long way to improving your general health and well-being. Whether you're a meat-eater, vegetarian or vegan, gluten-free or have other dietary requirements, these deficiencies are often the same. However, this advice is based on the majority of Americans who eat a varied diet including meat. Magnesium The most common nutritional deficiency in the average population is a magnesium deficiency, with an estimated 80% of Americans with symptoms. The average American diet only contains 50% to 60% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). Magnesium deficiency prevalence and severity increases with age. Everyday symptoms of a lack of magnesium include insomnia, nervousness, restlessness such as muscle twitches and cramps, heart palpitations and depression. Serious magnesium deficiency can lead to heart attacks. There are three key foods to include in your diet to improve your magnesium intake: all green leafy vegetables, beans such as black beans and seeds, particularly pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Zinc A lack of zinc affects around 70% of the American population. The most well known sign of a zinc deficiency is white spots on finger nails. It affects different ages differently, with adolescents likely to exhibit symptoms as acne, delayed puberty and adults more likely to suffer from psoriasis, hair loss and impotence. Zinc can be found predominantly in beef, mushrooms, spinach and pumpkin seeds. Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) Vitamin D3 is perhaps a lesser-known vitamin, which may be a partial cause to its epidemic levels of deficiency. Vitamin D3 plays a vital role in keeping cancers, osteoporosis, rickets and auto immune diseases at bay and is required for efficient use of calcium. It can be found in shrimps and eggs, and in cod liver oil. When recovering from a fracture or serious allergic reaction it can be a good idea to include a supplement as part of a healthy diet. Particularly important for children is to get 15 minutes of sun exposure at safe times of the day as this can help with natural vitamin D levels, including vitamin D3. Vitamin E A lack of vitamin E affects men and women in different amounts with around a third of men showing signs of deficiency compared with only 20% if women. It is an important one to address because it can slow down reflexes and affect positional senses, both vitally important when driving or working machinery for example. Again green leafy vegetables are a great source, particularly spinach and chard, as well as almonds and sunflower seeds. If you are worried about getting enough vitamin E in your diet, including a tablespoonful of Organic Cold Pressed Wheat Germ Oil either on its own or in cooking can work better than a supplement. Omega Fatty Acids (ALA, EPA, DHA) The modern diet is more likely to be deficient in Omega 3 than in Omega 6 with again more than 70% of Americans not getting enough in their daily diet. Omega Fatty Acids are really important for the proper efficient functioning of the brain, memory, vision and healthy skin and shiny hair. The recommended daily allowance eaten on a regular basis can help improve concentration and memory at school and performance in examinations, as well as help reduce the speed of decline with degenerative dementia. Oily fish such as sardines and wild-caught salmon are ideal ways to get Omega fatty acids into your diet; try and eat two to three portions each week. Walnuts and flax seed are also high in omega oils, and using either as an oil substitute for vegetable oil can be the simplest change to increase your consumption. Several of the recommended foods are suggested for more than one nutrient. By making sure that spinach, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are included regularly in your diet, as well as two portions of oily fish and getting some sun exposure can be all that is needed to eliminate the most common nutritional deficiencies and improve your energy levels, appearance and sense of health and well being over all. About the Author: Lily McCann writes healthcare articles for an ethical online healthcare business. She likes to promote healthy eating at a young age as a good way to stay off medication late in life.