Spot nutrient deficiency signs
If you’re feeling tired, your muscles are aching and you’re feeling low, it can be more than just the onset of flu. Your body has ways of letting you know all isn’t right, and having a nutrient deficiency can be easy to identify if you’re in tune with your body. We list some of the easiest ways to spot a deficiency.
Iron is essential for making red blood cells, and those who have been diagnosed with anaemia will be aware they need to keep their iron levels up. However not everyone is in the know, so look out for telltale signs. Fatigue, pale and dull skin and thin hair are all symptoms. While less common ones include cracked lips and a swollen tongue, feeling anxious, tingling and restless legs, nails that sink in and even craving clay and dirt. Get more iron by eating foods like beef, spinach and iron-fortified cereals.
Those lacking magnesium may find they have a loss of appetite or are feeling nauseous and keep vomiting. Again fatigue and weakness is another sign, with more severe cases reporting numbness, muscles cramps, abnormal heart rhythms and seizures. Foods that are packed with magnesium include spinach, nuts (especially almonds, cashews and peanuts), fish, beans and avocados. But be careful not to go over the top, as eating too much magnesium can cause diarrhoea.
As children we were taught we needed calcium for strong teeth and bones, and one of the best sources to get it is dairy food. However, as adults a lot of us turn our backs on dairy, favouring plant alternatives instead. This can lead to a deficiency, with our bodies feeling fatigued, muscles cramping, a reduced appetite and abnormal heart rhythms. Traditional foods like yoghurt, milk and cheese will give your calcium levels a boost, and for those not eating dairy, chow down on dark, leafy greens and calcium-fortified orange juice.
There are numerous ways your body will tell you it’s not getting enough B12, including cracks at the corners of your mouth, tingling in your hands and feet, problems with balance and walking, anaemia and fatigue. Animal sources, from meat to milk, contain the vitamin, but if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet opt for food fortified with B12 instead.
Oily fish is full of the omega-3 fatty acid, which is a great source of brain food. If your body isn’t get enough though it will tell you through rough, dry and bumpy skin, dry and dull hair, peeling nails, excessive thirst and urination, problems with sleep and attention and feeling depressed or suffering from mood swings and anxiety. As well as supplements, add more omega-3 to your diet with dishes made from salmon, sardines and walnuts.