We all know that a healthy, balanced diet is key to a nutritionally sound life, but sometimes, despite our best efforts in the kitchen, our busy lives can take a beating when it comes to the nutrients our bodies need. Here are five signs (that you might be missing!) that you may need to re-evaluate your routines to get everything running in top shape:
1) Leg cramps – if your calves are always aching and it’s not directly tied to your fitness routine, you may have a magnesium deficiency you need to look into. Magnesium helps keep blood pressure normal, bones strong, and heart rhythm steady and most Americans aren’t getting enough of it in their diet. Whole foods like green, leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, peas and soybeans, and whole-grain cereals can be an excellent source of the much-needed mineral and a supplement (aim for 350 mg/day, max) can be great, too.
2) White spots on nails – if you miss your weekly manicure and see white spots developing on your nail beds, you could be snoozing on your zinc intake. Low zinc levels can also cause bumpy ridges to develop on your nails. Zinc keeps the immune system strong, fights infection and helps heal wounds so it’s a key component to a healthy body.
3) Bleeding gums – Vitamin C gets a lot of buzz but almost 1/3 of Americans aren’t consuming enough of it! Bleeding gums can be a telltale sign you need to up your Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body. Citrus is a great place to start but strawberries, bell peppers and broccoli are other good sources and a boost from a daily supplement (recommended 75 mg per day for women, 90 mg per day for men) is always helpful, especially this time of year.
4) Constipation – if you’re having trouble in the regularity department, take a look at your potassiumconsumption. Potassium is super important for muscle strength, nerve function and building a strong cardiovascular system and though it’s easy enough to find in many of your favorite foods (avocado, bananas, melon and more), if you’re ingesting too much sodium at the same time, you’re excreting all the benefits of your recommended 4,700 mg of potassium per day. So watch your diet and your intake to make sure you balance everything – and we mean everything – out.
5) Eye twitching – the odd shaky eye can be a sign of fatigue, stress or too much caffeine but if twitching is a regular occurrence, you may want to assess your Vitamin B12 levels. B12 helps maintain healthy nerve and red blood cell function and too little can cause shaky movements, muscle weakness and spasticity…i.e. that annoying twitch that is ruining your day. It’s easy to fall behind on your B12 needs so add a multivitamin daily to keep your eyes – and your health – in check.