The indications your body may be giving you will be very subtle and hard to tell. However, they can cause a lot of harm in the long term.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on April 11, 2020. It has since been updated.
Having healthy habits takes a lot of discipline. Moreover, it is trickier for older adults to get complete nutrition. It is important for them to get key nutrients like B vitamins and calcium while also eating fewer calories than younger people. When you consume energy-rich but nutrient-poor food along with being inactive it increases risk factors for type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. But, this can be avoided easily. It is only a matter of knowing how to eat right.
If there are nutrient deficiencies for a long time, our body starts telling us about them. Here are some common nutrient deficiencies and their signs:
Regardless of age, those who avoid or limit dairy are one of the groups with the highest risk for calcium deficiency. This deficiency works over time and results in weakened bones, fractures, and even abnormal heart rhythms. If we consume less calcium then our bones start releasing it, hence weakening our bones. Each and every nerve and muscle need calcium to function properly.
One of the earliest symptoms of calcium deficiency is muscle cramps, brittles nails, and hair, extreme fatigue, dental problems, and painful premenstrual syndrome, according to Medical News Today. For consuming enough calcium, dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese, as well as soy milk, tofu, and orange juice that are fortified with calcium, and salmon with edible bones, can be had.
This is a crucial micronutrient that ensures normal thyroid function. Without enough iodine in the body, the thyroid may no longer be able to synthesize sufficient amounts of thyroid hormone, according to a research paper, Health consequences of iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency is most harmful to children as it may cause mental developmental problems. In adults, the deficiency shows up as weight gain, fatigue, swelling in the neck, hair loss, and dry skin.
If you want to consume the right amount of iodine then seaweed, cod, yogurt, shrimp, egg, and tuna are good sources, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Having the right amount of iron is most important for women of child-bearing age and children. Some of the most common symptoms of iron deficiency are fatigue, anemia that leads to dizziness, headache, chilly extremities, paleness in the skin and under the eyelids, and weakness. Sometimes cravings for ice or dirt are a telling symptom of the deficiency, according to Eat Right.
Some good sources of iron are lean meat, poultry, and seafood. Those who prefer a plant-based diet can consume lentils, beans, spinach or iron-fortified cereals. It also helps to consume vitamin C-rich food or beverages as it increases the absorption of iron from plant foods.
Vitamin D, also known as the "the sunshine vitamin", is easy to get. Just spend some time in the sun during warmer months. However, if that is not possible for you then there are foods like fortified dairy products, fortified orange juice, salmon, and tuna that can do it for you. But, how do you know you don't have enough? Look for signs like bone pain, muscle weakness or increased infection. Also, if you are an older adult or a person with dark skin, or have Crohn's or celiac disease, or are obese, there are chances that you don't have enough of this nutrient in your body.
Magnesium deficiency is associated with increased risks of several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, according to Micronutrient Inadequacies in the US Population: an Overview published by Oregon State University. It can also lead to insulin resistance and high blood pressure in the long term, added Healthline. Some of the earliest signs of deficiency are nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, and weakness, according to Medical News Today.
If you want to improve your magnesium intake, eat green leafy vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts.
If any of these symptoms seem to be recurring despite taking necessary changes, pay a visit to your physician without further delay.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images (L) Photo by IAN HOOTON, (R) jacoblundDisclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.