Our bodies have a unique language, giving us subtle signs and symptoms that we might need a little extra TLC or support.
We often can tell when we are deficient in a particular nutrient through reading obvious signs that are appearing on our skin, nails and tongue, but we can also evaluate how we sleep and our mood for signs of mineral and vitamin deficiencies.
Not getting enough vitamins and minerals can have long term impacts on our health. As a naturopath and nutritionist, when I meet with a client I am looking at signs and symptoms that can help me gauge a whole health picture. Once you really start to listen to your body, you and your naturopath will be able to figure out what it needs. Often these signs and symptoms are missed but here are some that can help you understand your body a little more.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. It supports our body’s immune function, vision, skin health and also reproduction.
Signs of Deficiency: Night-blindness, dry eyes, dry skin and hair, red or white acne like bumps on cheeks, arms, thighs and buttocks, recurring conjunctivitis, acne or ridges on nails.
Foods High in Vitamin A: Apricots, Cantaloupe, Sweet Potato, Carrot, dark green vegetables (such as Broccoli, Spinach, Lettuce and Kale).
Vitamin C is an antioxidant used to fight free radicals; Vitamin C is also useful when fighting infections and can also help with the absorption of Iron from our foods.
Signs of Deficiency: Dry skin, coarse or splitting hair, poor gum health, poor wound healing, poor immunity, muscle weakness and fatigue.
Foods high in Vitamin C: Citrus fruit (such as Orange, Lemon, Lime and Grapefruit) red and yellow Capsicum, Guava, Kiwifruit, dark green leafy vegetables (such as Broccoli, Lettuce, Spinach and Kale) Berries, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, Tomatoes.
Vitamin D plays a role in immune function and promotes bone growth. It is estimated that around one billion people worldwide are deficient in Vitamin D, so it’s a very common deficiency. However, getting your daily dose of Vitamin D is easy; just spend some time outside in the sun. Perhaps you could go for a walk at lunch time. Vitamin D is converted into a form that your body can use by your gut bacteria. If your gut is unhealthy, it won’t be able to effectively process Vitamin D.
Signs of Deficiency : Aching bones, fatigue, low bone mineral density, osteoporosis, and muscle weakness.
Foods High in Vitamin D: Fatty fish (such as Tuna, Mackerel, Sardines, Salmon and Trout) liver and other organ meats, eggs, Mushrooms (that have been exposed to sunlight) and cheese.
Vitamin is an antioxidant that protects the body's cells from damage, muscle weakness and neurological issues. A deficiency in Vitamin E is likely to be caused by an abnormality in how you absorb dietary fat or your metabolism rather than not eating foods rich in Vitamin E.
Signs of Deficiency : Skin problems such as breakouts, fertility issues, brain function abnormalities.
Foods high In Vitamin E: Dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, Avocado, shellfish, plant-based vegetable oils and Kiwifruit.
This vitamin plays a key role in the normal brain function and nervous system, as well as the formation of red blood cells. It is important for energy, and is also vital in producing the mood- boosting neurotransmitter serotonin.
Signs of deficiency: Numbness and tingling in hands, legs or feet, balance problems, anemia, swollen or inflamed tongue, jaundice, weakness, fatigue, cognitive difficulties or memory loss.
Foods high in Vitamin B12: Beef, liver, Lamb, poultry, shellfish, oily fish, low fat dairy cheese, eggs, and fortified soy products.
Other B Vitamins
Other B vitamins include B1, B2, B3, B5, B6. B7 and folic acid. Due to its role in brain development and function, folic acid requirements jump substantially during pregnancy.
Signs of deficiency: Problems with vision, fatigue, adrenal insufficiency, edema, athletes' foot, pale skin and dandruff.
Foods high in Folic acid: Dark leafy green vegetables, legumes, whole grains, orange, banana, fortified products such as cereals, fruit juices, and most breads.
Essential Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function, as well as normal growth and development.
Signs of Deficiency: Dry skin, itchy skin, scaly or flaky skin, lifeless hair, cracking or peeling of fingertips or skin around your nails, dry eyes, poor wound healing, lowered immunity, and joint pain.
Foods high in Omega 3s: Oily fish (especially cold water fish), eggs (yolk), flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
As you can see there is so much we can do through our nutritional choices, but it's also important to get the other basics right and make sure we are getting enough sleep, and managing our stress levels. Always seek help from your GP if you have any further concerns.