When it comes to making sure that you’re meeting your daily nutrient needs, you should listen to your body which often sends signals of looming deficiencies. If you notice a change in your nails, skin, or even how you feel, it could be an indication that you’re falling short in taking your daily requirement of essential vitamins and minerals. Here are four body signs of a nutrient deficiency
Take a look at your nails. How do they appear? Do they look healthy and strong or are they riddled with white spots and ridges? Do they appear unusually shaped? If your nails seem less than healthy, your body may be telling you that you’re lacking the essential mineral iron. You may have heard that white spots on your nails are a sign of a deficiency in zinc, however, this is more of a myth than reality. Typically, a white spot indicates an injury or trauma to the nail. However, if your nail appears thin and displays raised ridges and curves inward, this may be a sign of iron deficiency anemia and you should consult your physician.
Do you suffer from cramps in your legs and calves at night? It could be a sign that you’re lacking in the essential nutrient potassium. If you’re exercising hard during the day, you lose both fluid and electrolytes when you sweat. If you replace only the lost fluid by rehydrating strictly with water, you may not be replacing all of the essential electrolytes you’ve lost, including potassium which when low can lead to uncomfortable muscle cramping. To prevent this, rehydrate with electrolyte-rich beverages like coconut water or a sports drink on hot days or after a tough workout. You can also reach for potassium-rich foods such as bananas, spinach, broccoli, and grapefruit as well.
Do you ever feel like your hands or feet go numb or you experience tingling and a prickling feeling in your limbs? If so, this can actually be linked to a low intake of B vitamins such as B6 and B12 along with folic acid. A deficiency of B vitamins can directly impact the peripheral nerve endings in the skin. To help with this, eat a diet rich in dark, leafy greens such as spinach, lean proteins such as eggs, beans, and poultry, and fortified whole grains. If numbness or tingling continues or worsens, make sure to consult your physician.
Have you noticed an increase in small red or white acne-like bumps on your skin? These bumps which can appear on the face, arms, and even thighs can indicate a diet low in vitamin A. This vitamin helps pores remove dead skin and reduces the chance of developing clogged pores that encourage the growth of acne bacteria. To help slough off dead skin cells more efficiently to prevent skin blemishes, fill up on colorful vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots, along with dark green, leafy vegetables. These are rich in beta carotene which is a precursor to vitamin A and is converted in your body into this essential nutrient.
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