Could Your Health Issues Actually Be Nutrient Deficiencies?
Many nutrition professionals generally advise that a healthful, balanced diet can provide most people with the nutrients essential for good health.
Fruit and vegetables naturally contain a number of beneficial nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and other biologically active components - or phytochemicals.
In fact, it has been documented that consumption of at least 5 servings per day is linked with a reduced risk of various diseases, including several cancers and heart disease.
However, with the overall lack of nutrient bioavailability due to things like:
adequate fruit and vegetable servings,
over-processing of food, and
it’s no wonder that many of us are indeed lacking in a number of key nutrients that we once came by very easily. We simply aren’t eating our grandmother’s produce anymore!
Got muscle twitches or leg cramps?
A nutrient that is commonly found in plant foods, but also commonly lacking in our diets due to all of the reasons for poor bioavailability, is magnesium. This talented mineral is involved as a cofactor for a range of biochemical reactions in the body, is involved in the structural development of bone, and plays a role in nerve impulse conduction, maintaining a normal heart rhythm and muscle contraction.
Hormonal issues causing chaos? Maybe your fats aren’t so good.
FYI, while hormonal imbalances are another topic entirely, here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of hormone imbalances:
Depression and anxiety
Insomnia and poor sleep
Infertility and irregular periods
Weight loss, weight gain or weight loss resistance
Hair loss and hair thinning
Hormonal imbalances are complex, multi-faceted issues, meaning they are caused by a combination of factors such as your diet, medical history, genetics, and stress levels. Again, another topic altogether, but one of the major contributors to hormonal imbalances includes your diet - and specifically a lack of fats. Good fats, that is!
Hormones are built on fat, and your body can only use the building blocks you give it. Think wild-caught salmon, hemp seeds, coconut oil, avocados, and a special mention of GLA (gamma linoleic acid) found in evening primrose and borage oils - studies have shown that supplementing with GLA can support healthy progesterone levels. Talk to your doctor before starting supplements, please.
How’s your nail health? Maybe not as good as you think! Here are some signs to watch for:
What's considered normal differs in everyone, but generally, fingernails should be clear, smooth, pliable and peachy-pink in color.
Ever noticed white spots on your nails? While this is most often due to mild trauma (like banging your nail against something hard), it can also indicate a zinc deficiency.
Horizontal lines, ridges, and spoons
What about horizontal lines or ridges across your nails? These are sometimes called Beau's lines and may be due to a zinc deficiency but could be indicative of low iron or anemia. Nails can be spoon-shaped at the tips with iron deficiency as well.
Dry, brittle, and peeling
Dry, brittle, thin, or peeling nails? Could just be dry nails, but possibly also…
Lack of protein
Vitamin D deficiency
Deficiency in one or more B vitamins
No half moons?
Ever noticed the lighter-toned half-moons at the base of your fingernail? Or perhaps you haven't noticed them because they're absent all together! This is usually due to a Vitamin B12 deficiency and is also associated with anemia.
So, how do we get all the nutrients we need and improve our health?
Even with striving to maintain a healthful, balanced diet, it’s apparent that many of us may not be getting all the nutrients we need for optimal health.
Things that contribute to acquiring nutrient deficiencies:
Lack of nutrient bioavailability
Poor dietary choices
Food sensitivities and intolerances
Poor nutrient absorption (through the small intestine)
As always, getting your full complement of nutrients is encouraged through whole food sources, but sometimes our diet just isn’t meeting all of our needs and this is where supplementation may be necessary. If you are interested in supplementation, speak to your doctor. This is important because you may have drug interactions.
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Want to up your smoothie game?
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In this guide, I’m going to share some of my favorite smoothie bowl recipes. These bowls are great ways to experiment with blends, flavors, and toppings – all while making gorgeous creations. You can try these and then start making your own variations off of them!