According to the Centers for Disease Control, almost a third of the world’s population has a deficiency in at least one nutrient essential for optimum health. These deficiencies can lead to long-term health problems and diseases, and what’s worse is that these issues could be prevented with a nutritionally balanced diet. Here is a look at four of the most common nutrient deficiencies and how you can address them in your own diet.
An iron deficiency can lead to a number of different health problems, including fatigue, breathing difficulties, and brain fog. This condition is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, as it can cause both premature birth and a low birth weight for babies.
Treating an iron deficiency may involve taking nutritional supplements, but it’s entirely possible to increase the levels of iron in your diet, too. Healthy, iron-rich foods include fish, beans, legumes, spinach (as well as other dark greens), and dried fruit. Additionally, increasing the amount of vitamin C in your diet can help your body more efficiently absorb the iron in other foods.
Postmenopausal women are at the highest risk of a calcium deficiency, but it can affect people of all ages. Without adequate calcium, bones may become brittle and break easily. However, this nutrient is also essential for maintaining good heart health.
To increase the levels of calcium in your diet, be sure to include low-fat dairy products like yogurt and cheese, as well as non-dairy foods like broccoli, almonds, collard greens, and tofu.
Potassium is important for maintaining a healthy blood pressure, but it’s also a key nutrient that your nervous system needs for transmitting electrical impulses throughout the body. Without a healthy level of potassium in your diet, you may experience symptoms such as irregular heartbeat, muscle cramps, and digestive issues.
Bananas are probably the most common source of dietary potassium, but there are a number of other healthy foods that contain it as well. These include sweet potatoes, mushrooms, eggplant, cucumber, tuna, and orange juice.
Most people already know that fiber is essential for good digestive health, but it’s also important for protecting against heart disease and diabetes as well. Unfortunately, the average person consumes only half of the daily recommended intake.
High fiber foods to add to your diet include whole grains, apples, black beans, artichoke, potatoes, and green peas.