Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies Impacting Your Energy & Mood
Dizziness, low energy, fatigue, headaches… These are all common signs that your body is telling you it needs more of a certain nutrient so it can keep you healthy.
In our modern, fast-paced, and nutritionally-starved world, deficiencies are all too common. Even if you’re not struggling with a nutrient deficiency, most of us are likely to have suffered from low levels of nutrients in the past, or will do in the future.
To break down the important science, nutrients are those little things that foods are broken into when they’re digested, and each essential nutrient is responsible for activities in the body - important ones that keep us alive. Essentially, it’s a broad term that covers our foods, from macronutrients like protein, carbs, and fats, to micronutrients - our vitamins and minerals that are harder to keep track of.
They’re called essential because the body can’t produce them alone; they need to be enjoyed through the diet. That’s why having a broad and balanced diet is key to good health. So when we aren’t getting the right amount for our daily needs, the essential functions they support in the body start to falter. And that’s where those nagging symptoms of dizziness and low energy begin to set in.
Working out exactly what nutrient you are deficient in can be a lengthy, expensive, and draining process, so a lot of medical research is focused on determining the most common nutrient deficiencies - that is, the ones you are most at risk of, and the ones you are least at risk of.
Here are the top 3 of the most common nutrient deficiencies (& quick tips on how to fix them):
It is estimated that 80% of the population suffers from iron deficiency and 30% suffer from anemia, which is prolonged or chronic iron deficiency. One of the most noticeable symptoms of iron deficiency is fatigue and lack of energy. Other symptoms can be weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, brittle nails, fast heartbeat, strange cravings for non-food substances like ice or dirt (called pica), cold hands and feet, tingling, or a crawling feeling in the legs.
There are many plant-based and animal sources of iron that include (but are not limited to) spirulina, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, pistachios, seeds, quinoa, broccoli, dark chocolate, raw cacao powder, shellfish, grass-fed liver and organ meats, grass-fed red meat, pasture-raised poultry, tuna, sardines, and eggs. It’s also important to eat your iron with vitamin C as this is essential for the body!
Zinc is an often overlooked nutrient, which in itself is contributing to the further development of chronic disease. This mineral is necessary for proper immune function, normal thymus gland function, and protection of the thymus from cellular damage. It is required for protein synthesis (that is making protein within the body), cell growth, and wound healing, as well as normal skin function. Zinc is also essential for the maintenance of vision, taste, and smell and is critical to healthy male sex hormones and prostate function.
While there is a whole raft of ways that a zinc deficiency (or even just low levels) can have a serious impact on the body, there is also an abundance of zinc-rich foods that can bring you back to health. These include pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chickpeas, lentils, cashews, mushrooms, spinach, avocado, grass-fed meat, pasture-raised dairy products, and oysters.
Although magnesium is found in a wide variety of foods it is still a common deficiency amongst the population. In fact, it is believed to be the leading global deficiency. Symptoms of a mild deficiency aren’t noticeable as the body has mechanisms to preserve stores, but interestingly severe deficiency can be a result of alcohol consumption, the use of certain medications, or malabsorption - all elements of a modern lifestyle.
Your best bet for magnesium-rich foods is plant-based sources, including green leafy vegetables such as spinach and swiss chard, dark chocolate, raw cacao powder, sunflower seeds, cashews, flaxseeds, almonds, pepitas, amaranth, buckwheat, black beans, avocado, quinoa, and spirulina.
These are just three of the top deficiencies, but if you’re dealing with similar symptoms, there are three more you should consider! You can discover them all in our free eBook that features the A-Z nutrients (plus simple ways to correct them).
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