People may think they are getting enough essential nutrients, but the reality is that most people do not eat enough of the right foods to get the recommended daily intake of various vitamins and minerals.
The consequences of nutrient deficits can include osteoporosis, diabetes, high cholesterol, anemia, and kidney problems among many others.
Most common nutritional deficiencies
Although some supplements can help, it is always best to get your nutrients from natural sources. It is also essential to know what our nutritional deficiencies are, since we do not all share the same type of deficit, for this, consulting with a professional nutritionist and carrying out a routine of examinations, can give us a better idea of our nutritional status in general.
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D works with calcium to keep bones strong, but not everything high in calcium is high in vitamin D. Sun exposure provides some vitamin D through the skin, but too much sun is not good. Increase your vitamin D intake by eating fatty fish such as trout or salmon. For the highest concentration of vitamin D, try cod liver oil.
2. Vitamin B12
Those who are vegetarians or vegans are at the highest risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, as the vitamin is found primarily in animal products. Vitamin B12 is important in blood production and in nerve and brain functions. If you can’t eat meat to boost your vitamin B12 level, try clams, oysters, or nori seaweed. On the other hand, whole milk and eggs
contain small amounts of the mineral.
Calcium is not only good for bone health, it also helps keep teeth strong and muscles, heart, and nerves function in optimal condition. Calcium deficiencies can lead to osteoporosis as people age, so it is important to consume enough of the mineral in childhood and youth and maintain calcium levels. Most people know that dairy products contain calcium, but fish with bones, such as sardines, are even higher than dairy in terms of calcium content.
More than a quarter of the world’s population lacks sufficient iron. This mineral is essential for the formation of red blood cells and the transport of oxygen. There are two types of iron: heme and non-heme. Heme is the type of iron that exists in meat.
Non-heme iron is found in both meat and plant sources. Our body absorbs heme iron much more easily than non-heme iron. To increase your iron intake, eat red meat or shellfish like oysters. Vegetarians can turn to beans as a source of non-heme iron and fortified instant oatmeal.
Magnesium is a mineral that aids the formation of teeth and bones, and is involved in hundreds of enzymatic reactions. Whole grains like oats provide the best source of this mineral. If you don’t want a bowl of oatmeal, almonds are a good source, but you will need to eat about 90 of them to equal the magnesium in 6 ounces of oatmeal.
About 40 percent of people worldwide are in danger of not having enough iodine. Iodine is a mineral necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid and the production of thyroid hormones. These hormones affect bone health, body growth, and brain development. To increase the amount of iodine in your body, eat dairy products, fish, or dried seaweed.
7. Vitamin A
Vitamin A benefits bones, skin and teeth, as well as producing pigments for the eyes. There are two types of vitamin A: provitamin A and preformed vitamin A. Provitamin A comes from fruits and vegetables, while preformed is found in animal products such as meat and dairy. Although carrots are excellent sources of vitamin A, sweet potatoes are even better.
Potassium helps strengthen bones, muscle and nerve health, and energy production. Raw spinach is high in potassium, but you will need to eat about two cups to get the benefit. Sweet potatoes, bananas, and orange juice also contain potassium.
9. Folic acid
For pregnant women, folic acid is essential. During the first month, you can reduce the risk of neural tube defects, and during pregnancy, folic acid helps cell production. Natural sources of folic acid include lentils, broccoli, and enriched pasta, bread, and cereals.