Nutritional Deficiencies and How to Avoid Them
As a kid, did you ever worry that if you swallowed a watermelon seed that a watermelon would grow in your belly? This seems absurd as an adult, but there’s something to it, because what we eat affects us in many ways. Our bodies use the nutrients in food to perform daily functions; and without the proper nutrients, your body suffers. Here’s a brief look at the importance of proper nutrition.
Why are Vitamins and Minerals Important?
Your body needs a variety of vitamins and minerals to function properly. It can’t produce these nutrients on its own, however, so it needs to get them from your diet. If you don’t consume adequate amounts of a necessary nutrient or your body can’t absorb it properly, then a nutritional deficiency develops.
Health Problems Related to Nutritional Deficiency
Deficiencies of different nutrients can cause different health problems, but there is overlap. Some general symptoms that may indicate a deficiency include the following:
- Pale skin
- Difficulty breathing
- Hair loss
- Unusual food cravings
- Numbness or tingling in the joints
- Poor concentration
- Heart palpitations
If you notice any of the above symptoms, you should speak with your doctor to see if they may be caused by a nutritional deficiency or other issue.
The Causes of Nutritional Deficiency
Nutritional deficiencies are usually caused by a poor diet or something that impairs nutrient absorption, such as a disease or medication. Either of these can lead to a deficiency on their own or in combination. Bariatric surgery to reduce the size of the stomach can also contribute to a lack of vitamins and minerals in the diet. This is because the surgery restricts the amount of food you can eat, making it harder to consume enough essential nutrients.
Tips for Avoiding Nutritional Deficiencies
The best way to avoid nutritional deficiencies is by eating a well-balanced diet. Focus on the following foods to help boost vitamin and mineral intake:
- Green, leafy vegetables
- Orange and red produce
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
- Fatty fish
- Egg yolks
- Low-fat dairy products
Some people may also require daily supplements to meet their nutritional needs. For example, it’s recommended that pregnant women consume extra folic acid to make sure they receive enough folate to handle the increased need. Patients who complete bariatric surgery also usually require daily supplements. Work with a doctor or nutritionist post-surgery to determine your supplement needs.
If you’re ready to start your weight loss journey, Dr. Borland and his compassionate team are ready to help. Check out our resources to learn more about weight loss surgery, then contact the office to schedule an initial consultation. From losing weight and avoiding nutritional deficiencies to becoming a healthier you, we are committed to supporting you every step of the way.