A myth says that being one of the fattest nations in the world is due to the high levels of nutrients we get. Well, it’s false. Surprisingly, malnutrition isn’t something that is exclusive to people in the third world, in fact, its horrible effects are much more common in the US than most Americans realize. The main culprit is the lack of nutritious food and real food altogether.
This might be shocking but hunger in the United States increased by 50% from 1985 to 1990 including 12 million children lacking sufficient food to maintain development and growth, as stated in a study by the Bread for the World Institute.
Moreover, according to the medical journal, The Lancet, in New York City, for example, 40% of kids live below the poverty line. Hunger among elderly Americans is also an epidemic with reports stating that millions of older Americans are going hungry. Unfortunately, the levels of malnutrition and real hunger are only getting higher.
Now, for those who can afford trips to the grocery store and want to eat a balanced diet, we’ve put together this list of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the United States that you need to be aware of.
Continue reading to know more about the signs and solutions
1. Vitamin A
If you noticed that your eyes don’t adapt well to changes in light intensity or if you experience night blindness, you may be one of the so many Americans who suffer from vitamin A deficiency.
The greatest source of vitamin A is organ meats, which are intentionally avoided by most people nationwide. However, if you don’t really like liver and onions or fried chicken livers, you should consider getting your necessary vitamin A intake from spinach, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
2. Essential Fats (Omega 3 Fatty Acids)
Keratosis pilaris, also called chicken skin, is a skin disease that causes acne-like bumps on your buttocks, cheeks, thighs, and arms. These bumps are either red or white but aren’t painful or itchy.
In case you suffer from this health problem, it can be a sign that you’re not providing your body with enough essential fats. So you need to start eating foods that are high in omega 3, including fish, leafy veggies, flaxseed oil, flaxseeds, walnuts, and vegetable oil.
3. Vitamin C
How can you know that you have vitamin C deficiency? Well, if your gums often bleed and are red or if you notice that your skin bruises easily. You should never ignore what your body is trying to tell you.
We all know that oranges are the best source of vitamin C, but you might be surprised to know that red sweet peppers are a better source. Moreover, the best of all when it comes to vitamin C content are two exotic fruits from Latin America called camu camu and guava.
Have your sense of taste or smell got weaker or seem disrupted? If yes, then you’re likely suffering from zinc deficiency. This nutrient can be found in pumpkin seeds, spinach, asparagus, shiitake and crimini mushrooms, turkey, and lamb.
Beware! Eating some seeds, nuts, legumes, and grains can restrict the absorption of zinc in your body. Also, an overdose of zinc can cause a deficiency in certain nutrients, so it’s best to consult an expert before taking any zinc supplements.
5. B Vitamins
You probably need some B vitamins if your tongue often has cracks. The B vitamins include B1, B2, B3, B6, B7, B9, and B12.
To stay healthy, here are the foods that are rich in B vitamins:
B1 – Brussels sprouts, Asparagus
B2 – Spinach, Beet greens
B3 – Crimini mushrooms, Asparagus
B5 – Shitake and crimini mushrooms, Avocado
B6 – Potatoes Sweet, potatoes
B7 – Tomatoes, Onions, Sweet potatoes
B9 – Asparagus, Turnip greens, Spinach
B12 – Tuna, Sardines, Salmon, Cod
The signs that you have magnesium deficiency include twitching muscles and rapidly blinking eyes. According to the latest statistics published in the top health pages, up to 80% of Americans are magnesium-deficient.
You need to know that this essential macromineral is necessary for more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body. Foods that are rich in magnesium include black beans, raspberries, quinoa, cacao, halibut, bran, Brazil nuts, squash seed kernels, and pumpkin.
7. Vitamin D
If you get depressed when the seasons change, it’s a sign that you should add more vitamin D to your diet. You already know that sunlight is the best natural source of this vitamin, so all you need to do is to step outside and enjoy some outdoor activities more often. Obviously, this is why vitamin D deficiency becomes so common during winter when cold temperatures in large parts throughout the country keep people indoors.
So if you live in North Dakota, Fargo, or similar places, you should consider adding oily fish to your diet to make sure you get enough vitamin D. Also, various mushrooms can provide you with this vitamin, particularly chanterelle, shiitake, morel, and maitake.
Iodine is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones which help your body stay warm, use energy, and maintain proper functioning of your muscles, brain, heart, and other organs. Iodine deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism or goiter.
Moreover, mothers who are iodine-deficient give birth to children who are at risk of mental retardation. In the US, iodine deficiency is increasing among the population. Can you imagine that just between 1970 and 1990 there was an average increase of 50%?
You can healthy iodine levels by eating foods that are rich in this element, such as eggs, certain types of bread, meat, seafood, and dairy products.
9. Deficiencies Caused by Taking Common Medications
What most people ignore is that aspirin decreases the quantities of various nutrients in the human body, including vitamins C, K, and B5, sodium, iron, calcium, and folic acid.
Moreover, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) which contain naproxen and ibuprofen actually diminish folic acid content. And medications for cholesterol like lisinopril can diminish zinc levels.
Your body loses water every day through urine, perspiration, and bowel movements. So you need to drink enough water to fill up your body’s water supply so that it can function well.
You’ve probably heard about the 8 by 8 rule, which says that everyone should be drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. It’s a good way to ensure getting enough amounts of this vital liquid. Of course, other healthy juices and water-containing foods also count.
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