Every day we hear new information about what we should or shouldn’t be eating. Despite the growing trend of adopting a healthy lifestyle, it’s unlikely that many consumers are getting it all right. While any improvements you make for your overall health are better than the alternative, you may be shorting yourself of important nutrients.
What is optimum nutrition?
Although everyone’s needs are different, it’s important to strive for optimum nutrition with the food choices we make. This means getting the proper intake of nutrients for your body’s needs. This is not always easily determined, as one person’s protein, vitamin and mineral requirements may be quite different from the next.
Why is a balanced diet so important?
Proper nutrition is needed to make our bodies work effectively. Not eating a balanced diet puts you at risk for disease and other ailments. The situation may be more critical for children, as poor nutrition could impede growth and lead to other developmental problems.
Obesity and diabetes are just two examples of conditions that can be caused by nutrient deficiencies. The fact that they are both on the rise serves to show that the general population’s diet isn’t so balanced.
Signs of deficiency
You may think it’s impossible to know if you’re lacking certain nutrients, but there are a few telling symptoms that are often dismissed as something else. For example, muscle cramps, fatigue and an abnormal heart rhythm could be signs of very low calcium levels. Muscle aches, weakness and weight loss can be signs of deficiency for several key nutrients.
Commonly lacking nutrients
While nutrient deficiencies will differ from person to person, there are a few key nutrients that are commonly lacking in many individuals.
Vitamins A, D and E
Healthy bones, teeth and skin are all supported by vitamin A. Similarly to vitamin D, vitamin A is vital to the immune system. Both vitamins work in unison, meaning that if you are deficient of one, you cannot get the full benefits of the other. Good cholesterol and overall brain health are supported by vitamin E. As a powerful antioxidant, it can help slow processes that lead to damaged cells.
The importance of anti-inflammatory properties found in omega-3 fats is quite clear, as deficiency can be associated with many health problems that can increase the risk of death. This includes depression, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and cardiovascular disease among others.
Lack of magnesium leads to deteriorating metabolic function, which can lead to many other health problems. It is largely responsible for detoxification and is needed to minimize any damage that could occur due to exposure to chemicals, metals and other toxins. It can also help prevent migraines, cardiovascular disease and sudden cardiac death.
What can be done?
With the proper diet, your body can get all the nutrients it needs. However, this would require a diet that is largely based on the consumptions of healthy fats, organic produce, grass-fed meats and pastured poultry as well as other whole foods.
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