by Tracey Pollack
If you’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, you may have a nutritional deficiency and be starved for important nutrients. When your body is lacking major vitamins and minerals, it affects how you feel and function. Blame it on the American diet, which has shifted from healthy, homemade meals to processed convenience foods grabbed on-the go. Plus, with so many diets that reduce or remove certain food groups, from paleo to keto to vegan, it’s no wonder that so many people are hungry for various nutrients. Check out the most common deficiencies and which foods will satisfy your diet demands.
- Start Pumping Iron
If you’ve been feeling weak, cold and dizzy, you may need to boost your iron. But you’re not alone because iron deficiency is a major concern among women, children, vegetarians and vegans around the world. Iron is essential to everything, from carrying oxygen through your bloodstream to building muscles. If your diet is low in iron, you’re probably low on energy and constantly feeling cold. While the best sources of iron are red meat, seafood, chicken and turkey, you can also find plant-based sources like spinach, lentils, beans and iron-fortified breakfast cereals.
- Make No Bones About Calcium
Today, most of us need to bone up on calcium. This major nutrient helps strengthen your bones and teeth, while maintaining the proper function of your nerves, heart and muscles. If your diet is lacking calcium, your body will sneak it from your bones, which can leave you with osteoporosis and fractures. Our bodies need plenty of calcium and there are plenty of healthy foods to help fulfill your needs. Reach for calcium-rich choices like milk, yogurt and cheese. Not doing dairy? Go for tofu, leafy greens, fish with bones and calcium-fortified foods.
- Go Bananas for Potassium
This essential mineral is truly essential to keeping your body functioning properly. Along with regulating your heartbeat, keeping your muscles moving and telling your nerves to send out signals, potassium maintains your body’s balance of fluids and flushes out excess sodium to help lower your blood pressure. While bananas are an appealing source of potassium, you can also find the mineral in potatoes, leafy greens, black and white beans, salmon, acorn squash, yogurt and avocados.
- Take a Shine to Vitamin D
It’s a bright idea to up your intake of vitamin D because it’s important for your overall well-being. Commonly known as the sunshine vitamin because it’s naturally produced by your body through exposure to sunlight, vitamin D is essential for building strong bones, boosting your immune system and keeping you in a good mood. While one of the best sources of vitamin D is natural sunlight, you can also get your daily dose by eating fatty fish like salmon and tuna, egg yolks, cheese, and foods fortified with vitamin D like some dairy products and cereals.
- Make a Beeline for Vitamin B12
If you’ve been feeling weak, looking pale and getting lightheaded lately, these are all red flags that you need vitamin B12. See, vitamin B12 does dozens of things for your body, from producing red blood cells and DNA, to boosting your energy, improving your mood and strengthening your immunity. Be aware that vitamin B12 is only found in animal products like meat, liver, seafood, yogurt, milk and eggs. But vegans and vegetarians who rarely eat these foods can also find B12 in fortified breakfast cereals, nondairy milk and nutritional yeast.
As you can see, it’s simple and delicious to rely on healthy foods to cure the common diet deficiencies.