4 Ways to Combat the Top 3 Nutritional Deficiencies

by Metabolic Meals

by Metabolic Meals

Updated Jun 20, 2021

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It’s an odd conundrum when, as a society, we have access to more food than ever before but are in worse health because of it. Cheap, highly processed foods are abundant, but they offer more calories than your body needs while providing little to no beneficial nutrients.

People want to be healthier, but they often rely on restrictive diets that actually increase nutrient deficiencies. For instance, vegetarians are often vitamin D deficient and must be extra vigilant about consuming the right nutrients.

No matter their diet, people are conscious of the fact that they need a healthy balance of essential minerals and nutrients. As a result, they collectively spend over $20 billion a year on nutritional supplements. It’s a good way to fill the gaps in your diet, but it will only work if you’re filling in the right gaps.


When Your Body Screams for Nutrients

When your body is starving for a proper balance of nutrients, the consequences will vary according to which nutrients you’re lacking. Everyone is biologically unique and will, therefore, react to malnutrition differently. In the U.S., magnesium, zinc, and vitamin D are among the most common deficiencies.

For example, if you drink carbonated beverages throughout the day, you’re likely to be magnesium deficient. The phosphates in carbonated drinks bind with magnesium so your body can’t process it. Magnesium facilitates thousands of biochemical reactions in your body, and a deficiency can lead to digestion issues, anxiety, diabetes, heart disease, and insomnia.

Zinc deficiency, which is also common, is typically caused by insufficient intake or absorption or by an inherited disorder of zinc’s carrier protein, Zip4. Zinc helps your immune system fight off harmful microbes and is essential for protein production and DNA formation. Deficiencies can cause skin conditions such as acne, eczema, or xerosis, as well as increased illness, hair loss, impotence, unhealthy weight loss, and delayed healing.

Of these deficiencies, however, vitamin D remains the most prevalent. An estimated 1 billion people are deficient in this vitamin. Restrictive diets that cut out meat and dairy can deprive you of some of the main sources of vitamin D. But you can also be deficient if you don’t get enough sunlight, which prompts your body’s production of the vitamin. Because vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and bone growth, osteoporosis is a common symptom of vitamin D deficiency, along with depression, muscle aches and spasms, and hormone imbalances.

Outsmart Your Nutrient Deficiency

Magnesium, zinc, and vitamin D may be the top three nutrient deficiencies in the country, but that doesn’t mean the nutrients themselves are in short supply. In fact, combating nutrient deficiency is simple with these four tips:

1. Eat your fruits and vegetables.


The best way to avoid any nutritional deficiency is by consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Some of the healthiest cultures around the world eat five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and they don’t eat the same thing year-round. Try to follow suit and choose the produce that’s currently in season. However, you don’t have to restrict your diet to only seasonal fruits and vegetables to avoid nutrient deficiency.

2. Eat minimally processed whole foods.


When you can’t eat 100 percent natural food, make sure that at least 80-90 percent of your food comes from minimally processed sources. Protein, healthy fats, nuts, seeds, and fibrous carbohydrates will ensure you receive a wide spectrum of minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and fiber. These foods are also low-hanging fruit for better overall health and will minimize the need to supplement the nutrients you need.

3. Have your blood work analyzed.


People who spend billions of dollars on nutritional supplements are not always just following a fad; the right supplements can actually be beneficial to fight nutrient deficiencies. To supplement successfully, however, be sure to have your blood work professionally analyzed. Otherwise, your guesses are just shots in the dark. If you can’t afford to have blood work completed, a high-quality multivitamin may be your next best option.

4. Choose a high-quality multivitamin.


It’s important to remember that multivitamins supplement a healthy diet; they don’t replace it. Think of them as more of an insurance policy to fill nutritional gaps in your diet.

Your emphasis when choosing a multivitamin should be on high quality, meaning it has at least two of the four most important seals of approval: ConsumerLab.com (approved quality product seal), NSF (international dietary supplement certification), USP (dietary supplement verification program), or CGMP (ensures quality for drugs and supplements).

Today’s excess of fast, convenient, and nutritionally useless foods can make it seem like nutrient deficiency is inevitable, but it’s not. With a little help, you can escape the trap of nutrient deficiency and give your body what it needs to live up to its full potential.

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