Many people suffer from infections, feel tired, and experience conditions related to skin, hair, and nails. Sometimes these conditions need to be treated with prescription medications. But sometimes they are a sign of a vitamin deficiency and can be treated by adding specific foods to a person’s diet. Healthy food can be the best medicine. Food is effective, affordable, and readily available. Best of all it doesn’t have harmful side effects associated with some prescription medications.
This article is part of a series focusing on diet and supplementation. In part one, we discussed the right food proportions, the ideal dinner plate, and portion size. Today, in part two, we will give examples of how foods can treat common health conditions. Plus, we scratch the surface of supplements and explore the benefits and risks that come along with them.
Vitamin and Nutrient Deficiency
If your diet does not supply a sufficient quantity of vitamins or nutrients, a deficiency will develop. You can develop a deficiency for any individual vitamin or nutrient. According to Healthline, among the most common deficiencies are iron, calcium, iodine, and vitamins D, B12, and A. Deficiencies can result in a wide range of conditions. If left untreated, they can cause serious medical conditions. It’s easy to test for vitamin deficiencies. Blood tests can determine the level of vitamins and nutrients found in your body. So if you suspect you may have a deficiency, contact your doctor to schedule a test soon.
Your Fork to the Rescue
If you test positive for a mild to moderate vitamin deficiency, the first treatment can be to change your diet. It’s as simple as adding a few extra items to your grocery list. After that, you have to eat them regularly. Here are some common issues and vitamin deficiencies that may be to blame. We also provide suggestions on foods that may help.
- Brittle hair and nails. This could be caused by taking prescription antibiotics and could indicate a biotin deficiency. Foods rich in biotin include egg yolks, fish, meat, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.
- Pale Skin, Jaundice, Sensations of Pins and Needles. These conditions could be a Vitamin B12 deficiency. Consume meats, fish, poultry, eggs to treat ad B12 to your diet. Additionally, look for foods fortified with B12, such as some varieties of bread and plant-based milk can help.
- Bleeding Gums. You might be brushing your teeth too hard, or you might be suffering from a Vitamin C deficiency. Find foods that contain Vitamin C in the produce department of your local supermarket. So grab a basket and fill it up with broccoli, brussels sprouts, red peppers, spinach, leafy greens, and tomatoes.
- Red or White Bumps on the Skin. This condition is also known as keratosis pilaris. It is an indication of low levels of both vitamins A and C. Treat it by eating more dairy, eggs, fish, dark leafy green veggies, and yellow-orange colored fruits and vegetables.
- Restless Leg Syndrome. RLS is a sign of iron deficiency. Iron-rich foods include meat, poultry, fish, legumes, dark leafy greens, nuts, and seeds.
- Infections, Fatigue, Back and Bone pain. These issues could indicate a Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D keeps your immune system strong and is found in some types of fish, white mushrooms, whole milk, swiss cheese, and eggs.
Grocery Store Guide
As you can see, many nutritional deficiencies can be combated by eating some of the same variety of foods. One thing in common is that they can all be found in the healthy sections of the grocery store. These sections include dairy, meat, and especially produce.
You will find them along the perimeter of the store. That’s because they are perishable and require refrigeration. The items found on the aisles in the center of the store are often processed to keep the shelf-stable for long periods. Processing often strips vitamins and nutrients from foods, leaving them with little or no nutritional value.
When Food is Not Enough
Sometimes, treating vitamin and nutrient deficiencies with food is not effective. For instance, strict vegans and people taking certain prescription drugs cannot absorb some vitamins, like B12, from their diet. An over-the-counter supplement may be another option to help with these nutritional deficiencies. Before starting a supplementation regimen, it’s important that you talk to your doctor about it to make sure it doesn’t interfere with any current treatment protocols.
A Common Misconception
Vitamins and supplements are usually a safe way to improve health and wellness. Some people think taking vitamins and supplements can make them healthier and certainly can’t hurt them. That’s not exactly true. The fact is, under certain conditions, taking vitamins and supplements, if improperly dosed, appear to be harmful, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Healthy food can be the best medicine if you know which foods treat which conditions. When the right foods don’t work, supplements, if taken properly, might be the right treatment. In part three of this series, we will explore the risks and rewards of taking vitamin supplements and provide dosing guidelines to make sure you are taking them properly. Until then, visit the Naturally. . . You website for more information on eating a healthy diet and the five other keys to optimal health. There you can find recommended reading materials and links to buy them. You can also start a live chat to discuss this or any other health-related question. I look forward to chatting with you soon!