A balanced diet ensures that your body gets all the vital minerals and vitamins to keep all the parts running in order. That’s why doctors insist on having a wholesome diet that fulfils all essential requirements of the body. A deficiency occurs when your body is not getting enough nutrients.
This can lead to a variety of health problems such as skin disorders, hair fall, dementia, and even digestion issues.
But don’t worry, most of these health problems are reversible if you make small changes to your diet and lifestyle. Here are some common problems which you may face, and how they can be brought under control.
10 Medical Conditions That Are Triggered By Nutrient Deficiency
1. Excessive hairfall
You may be suffering from iron deficiency if you have excessive hair fall. Image courtesy: iStock
Losing 100 strands of hair a day is normal. But if you notice big clumps of hair on your pillow or in the shower, your may need to check your diet.
You may have an iron deficiency. It is actually one of the most widespread nutritional deficiencies worldwide. Your doctor may recommend a test to check your iron levels and even prescribe iron supplements.
In the meantime, you should increase your intake of iron-rich foods such as:
Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach
Red meat, pork and poultry
Dried fruit, including raisins and apricots
Iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas
Another common cause of iron deficiency is anaemia, which is a decrease in haemoglobin in the blood. Some common symptoms may include weakness and fatigue.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 30 percent of the world’s population is anaemic.
WHO further estimates that 42 percent of children under the age of five years, and 40 percent of pregnant women worldwide are anaemic. So to counter this, the best solution is to increase your intake of iron-rich foods.
You can include the following in your daily diet:
3. Depleting eye power
If you’re not getting enough vitamin A, you might notice changes in your eyesight. As you know, Vitamin A is crucial for eye health and functioning.
According to WHO, the lack of vitamin A is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children. In fact, many people are first alerted that they may have a vitamin A deficiency by the onset of night blindness.
You may not be able to identify this quickly. But you will find that driving at night might suddenly be more difficult. Your eyes may also take longer to adjust between brightly lit and dim areas.
It is important to check with your doctor because night blindness caused by vitamin A deficiency can progress to permanent vision loss.
In the meantime, you should increase your intake of Vitamin A-rich foods including the following:
Green and yellow leafy vegetables
Fortified low-fat food items and spreads
Milk and yoghurt
Mango, papaya, and apricots
Peppers and sweet potato
4. Dry skin
Noticed dry and itchy skin? Maybe it’s time to increase the intake of Vitamin A in foods. Image courtesy: iStock
When you’re low in vitamin A, you may experience dry, scaly skin including your lips. When your body doesn’t have vitamin A, skin infections can become more frequent.
People who are very young, pregnant, breastfeeding, or suffering from a liver or malabsorption condition are most likely to have vitamin A deficiency.
According to UNICEF, one in six pregnant women worldwide isn’t getting enough vitamin A from their diet.
So if you’re not getting enough nutrients, include Vitamin A-rich foods in your diet. These include leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale, orange vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots, orange fruits like cantaloupe and apricots, milk, egg, and reddish-yellow fruits, such as apricots, papaya, peaches, and tomatoes.
5. Poor bone growth or Osteoporosis
If you aren’t getting enough nutrients, you may also suffer from poor bone growth.
For instance, vitamin D is essential for healthy bones. It helps the body maintain the right levels of calcium in order to regulate the development of teeth and bones. Now, lack of vitamin D can lead to stunted or poor bone growth.
Women and senior citizen are usually found to be suffering from Osteoporosis. This condition can lead to porous and fragile bones that break very easily.
Your poor bone condition can also be due to calcium deficiency. You need to remember that calcium deficiency often doesn’t show symptoms right away, but it can lead to serious health problems over time.
These are the foods that you need to include in your diet in case of vitamin D deficiency:
Fish liver oils
Remember that a good source of vitamin D is sunlight. According to the NIH, five to 30 minutes of midday sun exposure twice a week on the face, arms, neck, or back can provide you with enough vitamin D.
If you are looking to increase your calcium intake through food. Here’s what you need to have:
Dairy products, such as milk, yoghurt, and cheese
Small fish with bones
6. Swollen tongue
If you have a swollen tongue you may be suffering from a condition also called glossitis. This can be a sign that your body is not getting enough nutrients like iron, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and B12.
Some of the other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include dizziness and weight loss.
If left untreated for too long, vitamin B-12 deficiency may cause irreversible damage to the nervous system. Problems such as dementia, muscle weakness and memory loss are likely to occur. You doctor may recommend blood tests and treat you based on your level of deficiency.
However, they may suggest taking vitamin B-12 supplements, receiving vitamin B-12 injections or blood transfusions. In the meantime, you can up your vitamin B-12 with a rich diet that includes the following:
Vegetarian sources include fortified plant-based milk and nutritional yeast
7. Increased bruising
You will notice bruises on your body if you are suffering from low Vitamin C. Chances are that your body has more collagen than any other protein. It holds everything together, including your skin cells.
For the uninitiated, Vitamin C is a key element in collagen. It is a protein that is abundant in connective tissues like skin, hair, joints, bones and blood vessels.
You will find that deficiency-related bruises may cover large areas of the body or appear as small, purple dots under the skin. So, remember, these problems will persist till your body is not getting enough nutrients.
So the best solution for not getting enough nutrients is to up the intake of Vitamin C-rich foods including citrus fruits including oranges, peppers. strawberries, blackcurrants, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and potatoes.
8. Bleeding gums
Bleeding gums can be a sign that you are suffering from vitamin C deficiency. Image courtesy: iStock
This is another common problem if you are suffering from vitamin C deficiency. Without adequate vitamin C, the gum tissue is weakened and blood vessels bleed more easily.
Here’s what you need to remember:
Adults aged 19 to 64 need 40 mg of vitamin C a day
Vitamin C cannot be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day
So to prevent bleeding gums, increase your sources and intake of Vitamin C and include the following:
Citrus fruit, such as oranges and orange juice
9. Mouth burning syndrome
This condition can make your gums, lips, the inside of your cheeks, and roof of your mouth feel like they’re burning. Or there can be a case where your mouth might be dry or numb.
This can be due when you’re not getting enough nutrients, specifically vitamins like folate, thiamin, and B6. You’ll have to make up for this deficiency by increasing your intake of either supplements or nutrient-rich food items.
10. Birth defects
Vitamin B-9 also known as folate helps brain development and nervous system functioning. It plays a crucial role in the formation of a developing child’s brain and spinal cord.
If your body does not get enough nutrients like folate, your child may suffer from severe birth defects including physical deformities. So to prevent that from happening, including the following foods in your diet.
Beans and lentils
Leafy green vegetables
Meats, such as poultry and pork
The treatment for a nutritional deficiency depends on the type and severity of the deficiency. In case of minor deficiency, the doctor may advise you to change your eating habits. In some cases, experts may suggest you take supplements.
Either way, consult your doctor before taking any supplements because the dose needs to be administered based on your requirement.