Vitamins and minerals are regarded as essential nutrients in the body.
They have several functions in the body like boosting immunity, repairing cells, strengthening bones, boosting wound healing, and converting into energy.
For these reasons, vitamins and minerals are regarded as healthy nutrients.
What is vitamin and minerals deficiency? This is when your body does not get enough vitamins and minerals. It can also be defined as depriving your body of the necessary nutrients needed for functioning. A human body needs a certain amount of these nutrients to function and operate.
Deficiency is a process that happens over time.
Individually, vitamins are nutrients responsible for cell growth and development and are required for the proper functioning of the whole body.
On the other hand, Minerals are elements and nutrients in food that propel better functioning of the body and its systems.
There are over 13 vitamins and 15 minerals that your body needs to function better. Here, we highlight both vitamins and minerals, their types and which foods we can get them from. Also, how you can check and address the deficiency of these nutrients at home.
Lack of these minerals and vitamins in the body can lead to weak bones, tiredness, poor immune systems and general weakness in the body.
How to address deficiency at home
Addressing vitamin and mineral deficiency can be quite easy and helpful. There are usually signs and symptoms of identifying these deficiencies.
Bleeding gums can be a direct symptom of vitamin deficiency. Many tend to associate bleeding gums with hard brushing, but many a time, it’s due to lack of this nutrient value.
Vitamin C can easily be acquired through fruits and vegetables. Many people do not remember to take fruits in a day as much as they eat plenty of foods. This can be easily identified and managed at home.
Slow wound healing
Experiencing slow wound healing could be a symptom of lack of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C. Vitamin C helps in wound healing and reduces dry skin.
Good sources of vitamin C remain fruits like oranges and apples and vegetables like kales and spinach.
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Frail hair and nails
Frail hair and nails are usually a symptom of a lack of biotin, also known as vitamin B7. Biotin aids in the conversion of food into energy.
Lack of biotin also has other symptoms like muscle cramps, muscle fatigue and chronic fatigue, which comes with weak hands and feet. Those at more risk of developing a lack of biotin include heavy smokers, pregnant women and those with digestive issues.
There are foods rich in biotin, including meat, seeds—nuts and vegetables like kales, spinach and even fruits like bananas.
Loss of hair
You could notice you are losing hair every day; maybe you wake up and find strands of hair on your pillow every day. This could be a sign of deficiency of iron. This usually comes with unexpected weight gain or loss too.
Managing this at home can be pretty straightforward. Supplements of iron are essential here. You can also supplement with foods rich in iron like meat, beans and spinach.
Loss of hair could also be a symptom of a deficiency in zinc, vitamin B3 and B7. All these nutrients are essential for hair growth. This means fish, legumes, eggs, nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, and whole grain can aid in this deficiency as they are good sources of zinc and iron.
Pain in your bones
This is usually a common symptom in many individuals, especially the aged, due to lack of vitamin D. this also comes with muscular pains at times.
The best remedies of deficiency in Vitamin D is:
- Exposing yourself to the sun, especially during morning and evenings when the sun is not too hot.
- Supplementing with vitamin D supplements.
- Eating foods rich in vitamin D like egg yolk, liver, red meat, tuna, mushroom and fortified foods like breakfast cereals.
Poor night vision
Poor night vision is a result of a deficiency in vitamin A. This means the cornea of the eye dries up and becomes cloudy leading to poor eyesight.
Managing deficiency in vitamin A at home will mean supplementing with foods rich in vitamin A. These foods include milk, carrots, eggs, mangoes and sweet potatoes.
If the symptoms of poor night vision persist, be sure to contact your doctor or go for a checkup.
You could notice that your heartbeats are irregular sometimes during the day. This could mean you are deficient in calcium.
Calcium prevents muscle cramping by regulating irregular heartbeats.
Addressing calcium deficiency at home will mean trying foods rich in calcium like milk, broccoli, salmon, tuna and soybeans. Simple yoghurt could also help with calcium-deficient individuals. Be sure to have some and store them in your refrigerator.
Dandruff and scaly patches
This could come with itching and dryness of the scalp. Scaly patches may appear on the face, armpits and inner thighs too.
Poor nutrition is commonly the number one reason for all these. Lack of zinc, vitamin B2, vitamin B6 and B3 all have a role.
Seborrhea dermatitis is also a condition of the skin that causes scaly patches and should also is a symptom of lack of these nutrients.
Luckily, there are many foods rich in these nutrients. They include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and whole grains represent Vitamin B3, B2 and B6. Organ meats, starchy vegetables, legumes, green vegetables and nuts represent vitamins B2 and B6.
Zinc can be fed from milk, whole grains, legumes, red meat and nuts. Seafood can also help here.
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Vitamin and mineral deficiency
There are common deficiencies in vitamins and minerals that many people experience today. You can get these vitamins from balanced diets, which today, many don’t take time to prepare.
Here are some vitamins and minerals deficiencies experienced today:
Iron is an essential mineral that assists in hemoglobin and oxygen transportation. This deficiency is so common that it is estimated to affect up to 25% of adults and 47% of school-going children worldwide.
The number is still high as up to 30% of women lack this mineral due to menstruation.
Iron can easily be found in food. There are dietary irons, namely Heme iron and Non-Heme iron. Heme iron is found in animal foods and is well absorbed into the system, while non-heme iron is found in both plant and animal foods.
This explains why many vegetarians are prone to iron deficiency, as what they consume lacks proper iron. Heme iron, being animal food, alludes to foods like red meat and organ meat.
Iron deficiency usually leads to anaemia, a condition that involves reducing red blood cells and the level of oxygen in blood dropping.
Anaemia can be easily spotted at home with symptoms like weakness and tiredness and a weakened immune system. Moreover, it is essential to note that too much iron can be harmful.
On the other hand, vitamin C can be used to enhance the absorption of iron. Feeding fruits and vegetables can do well for this reason.
Magnesium has a lot of functions in the body. This includes controlling blood pressure, protein production, brain functioning, maintaining glucose levels in blood and energy metabolism.
Alcoholism fuels magnesium deficiency because it prevents the kidney from holding enough magnesium from leaving the body through urine. Early symptoms of this deficiency are nausea, lack of appetite, weakness and tiredness, irregular heartbeats and muscle cramps.
Magnesium deficiency can be remedied by certain foods which are rich in magnesium. These are:
- Fatty fish
- Dark chocolate
- Pumpkin seeds
Zinc deficiency is quite common in individuals today. Early symptoms may be like slow wound healing, a general weakness which means poor immune systems and slow growth.
Animal foods are a good source of zinc. These are eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes, meat, whole grain and shellfish. Chickpeas and yoghurt are also great storage foods to fight zinc deficiency.
Severe zinc deficiency can also cause loss of appetite and even taste for food. Be sure to see your doctor in case of these painful symptoms.
Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in vitamins. This nutrient is important to your skin and bones. It also helps in the absorption of calcium.
A good source of vitamin D is the sun. Basking in the sun for 10 to 15 minutes a day, preferably in the mornings or evenings, can do you good. Foods rich in vitamin D and its supplements can also help in fighting this deficiency.
Potassium is equally an important mineral for the human body. It enhances heart functions and muscle contractions.
Deficiency of potassium signs may include weakness, constipation and muscle cramping. Constipation may further lead to bloating. Foods rich in potassium include peas, tomato, mushroom, cucumber, broccoli, bananas and grapefruits.
Mineral deficiency simply means the lack of minerals that help with body function. This may be because of poor dieting, in most cases junk foods and unbalanced diets.
Low-calorie diets may also lead to a mineral deficiency. Those prone to mineral deficiency are lactose intolerant individuals, vegetarians and vegans who cannot take some foods and beverages. This means they will lack some minerals present in the foods they cannot take and have to find these minerals in other foods.
Symptoms of mineral deficiency individuals may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Low concentration levels
- Weakness and tiredness
- Low immune system
- Abdominal pains and constipation
- Slowness and numbness
Other causes can also lead to a mineral deficiency. Alcoholism and taking antibiotics often may deprive you of minerals in the body. This happens because it limits the proper digestion of food and absorption in the body.
Be sure to have a balanced diet in every meal you take. Incorporate fruits and vegetables adequately to boost your minerals which will boost your immunity system.
Fruits intake should be diverse, from bananas, grapefruits and oranges to apples, apricots, mangoes, berries and avocadoes. Vegetables range from kales and spinach to potatoes, tomatoes and legumes.
Supplementing can also be a remedy for mineral deficiency. Multivitamins and mineral supplements can be used to supplement with foods rich in minerals. Be sure to take advice from your healthcare provider or physician on how to take these supplements.
If symptoms of mineral deficiency increase, it is proper to seek medical care too.
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients in the human body. The deficiency of these nutrients could lead to severe conditions eventually. For this reason, it is crucial to address these deficiencies from your home before proceeding for medical help if the deficiency persists.
A balanced diet is usually the right direction to counter these deficiencies. Be sure to have at least three proper balanced meals in a day with adequate hydration. Incorporate fruits and vegetables in your meals and snack correctly if you have to.
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