Expert advice Nutrition Trending

Indulgence is ok! Once in a while

Jen Thomas

Muscle Trainer, Pre & Post-Natal Exercise Expert, and Nutrition Coach

4 min read


We are all aware that good nutrition is vital for good physical health. But not many of us are aware that the foods we eat affect our mental health too! Missing vital nutrients can impact not only how optimally our bodies work, but also how we think and feel. Here are some common vitamin deficiencies that may be affecting you.

LOW IRON

If we aren’t consuming a well-balanced diet, we run the risk of developing nutritional deficiencies. A common deficiency is an iron deficiency. Menstruating women, pregnant women, and strict plant-based eaters are most at risk.

Iron is found in our blood cells. But if there is a shortage of iron in UR blood, UR body will not get the required amount of oxygen it needs. Because of this, you can also feel tired and short of breath when UR body lacks iron. However, did you know that you can also feel anxious or have heart palpitations as well?

Some iron-rich foods include green leafy vegetables, beans, fortified cereals, lean meat etc. Our blood cells are also affected by low levels of folate, vitamin C and vitamin B12. Good sources of these foods include lentils, egg yolk, spinach, broccoli, citrus fruits and so on.

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LACK OF VITAMIN D

The lack of vitamin D affects bone health and prevents UR body from functioning well. Vitamin D deficiency can cause fatigue, muscle weakness, pain and depression. Anywhere between 30-80% of the population may experience a vitamin D deficiency, found more prevalence in warmer clients with darker skin. Furthermore, as we age, our body’s ability to make Vitamin D decreases.

Vitamin D is predominantly absorbed through the skin via sunshine, and is rarely found in food. It is
found in fish, cod liver oil, mushrooms, liver and eggs, as well as Vitamin D for0fied foods such as milk or cereals.

Did you know that if you are deficient in Vitamin D that it will affect how your body absorbs calcium? If you’re deficient in Vitamin D, you may also want to look at your calcium intake as well.


Science has also proven that poor diet and lifestyle choices cause an imbalance in the gut microbial population. This increases the risk of insulin resistance, obesity, cardiovascular disease and other inflammatory disorders.


GUT HEALTH

We often think that our brain is unconnected with the rest of our body. But good health means being healthy right from UR head to UR toes. As a result, what we eat can directly affect our mental health. The link between our diet and our feelings stems from the close connection between our brain and gastrointestinal tract (GI) or the “second brain!” as it is often called.

There are billions of bacteria in our GI that impact the production of chemical substances known as neurotransmitters. These substances are responsible for carrying messages from our gut to our brain. When we eat healthy, we promote the growth of the good bacteria – which affects the production of the neurotransmitters (serotonin and dopamine) in a positive way. Food that is not nutritious like junk food and food that contains excess sugar causes inflammation and this obstructs the production of neurotransmitters.

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When this happens the brain is unable to receive positive messages which are then reflected in our emotions – good food equals good mood! Some studies state that a diet that is healthy can help manage symptoms of anxiety and depression too.

When you eat healthy balanced meals, it helps in rectifying nutrional deficiencies. It also manages weight issues, improves immunity and ensures longevity.

Here are some ways to adopt healthy eating habits:
  • Include a variety of foods in UR diet: Consume foods from all food groups like cereals, pulses, fruits, dairy, vegetables, fish and poultry, nuts, and oils – they help supply a wide range of nutrients required by UR body.
  • Eat more whole grains: Whole grains like oats, quinoa, brown bread and brown rice are very high in dietary fibre. These foods satisfy UR hunger and keep you satiated for long.
  • Limit refined carbohydrates: Eating refined carbs and other refined grains results in less satiety which makes you crave for more. The less fibre content in desserts, pizza, pasta, pastries, and other foods made from refined carbs makes it quickly digestible. This leads to quick spikes in blood sugar levels.
  • Control portion size: Your body needs time to digest the food consumed. Eat small portions at a time to avoid straining UR body. Portion control results in less intake and leads to less calorie burden.
  • Change the fats you consume: Avoid having saturated fats like butter, cream, hydrogenated oil, and deep-fried snacks. These are sources of empty calories, minus the nutrients. Opt for healthy fats like lean meat, eggs, fish, nuts, and heart-healthy oils.

Every health change need not be made immediately. Take it slow and see how it progresses week by week. You will find it easier this way. For instance, you may add one healthy eating habit one week at a time. Being mindful of what’s going inside UR body is very effective. This is especially helpful when you are trying to fight UR cravings!