In today’s Western society there really shouldn’t be any reason for vitamin deficiencies but due to poor dietary habits we may still find that we are not getting all the correct nutrients we require for a healthy diet.
Blood tests can usually help verify whether you are lacking in any of these vitamins or minerals but you can prevent them by ensuring you get a diet rich in healthy foods – fruit, vegetables, and other whole foods.
1. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is found primarily in animal products and as such the deficiency is very common with vegetarians and the elderly. When a breast-feeding mother is deficient in vitamin B12 this can also cause problems in the development of her child .A vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to depression and other mental and emotional disorders , increased bodily pains, fatigue, weakness and loss of memory.
Iron is essential in the production of red blood cells which are responsible for transporting oxygen around our bodies and a deficiency in this nutrient can lead to anemia . Iron is also involved in the production of ATP which is an important energy source in our bodies. Iron is found in organ meats, lean red meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, dried beans, peas, legumes, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables.
For optimal health it is important that we get the correct balance between omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Unfortunately due to the western diet being high in processed foods, most people tend to have too much omega-6 in relation to omega 3 fatty acid. Deficiency in omega 3 can cause visual problems , inflammation, learning and behavior problems . Omega 3 levels can be increased with salmon, sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts and so on.
Magnesium is found in mainly vegetable sources: beans, green vegetables, nuts, seeds, almonds, avocados and quinoa. Magnesium deficiency may increase risk of developing asthma , depression , and diabetes . It is also essential for heart health and may help prevent high blood pressure.
Vitamin D can be synthesized by the body when you are exposed to sunlight but it is also found in dietary sources such as cod liver oil, fatty fish, mushrooms, eggs and some dairy products may be fortified with vitamin D. A vitamin D deficiency may be increase risk of certain types of cancers and osteoporosis . Supplementation of vitamin D has been found to help protect against type 1 diabetes and falls and fractures in the elderly.
Vitamins and minerals are essential for maintaining optimal health, creating tissue in our bodies and helping to repair and maintain our different body parts. Most of these vitamins and minerals need to be obtained through a good diet which includes a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, grains and animal products. It is also advised to try to get a moderate amount of sunlight for the production of vitamin D.
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