Nutritional deficiencies are pretty common place in the UK but are often hard to spot as we often attribute symptoms such as fatigue, headaches and pains down to the hectic pace of modern day life. The most common nutritional deficiencies are: calcium, fibre, folate, iodine, iron, magnesium, omega and vitamin D.
Keep on reading to find out some of the common symptoms and what nutritional advice to help restore the nutritional imbalance in your diet.
Calcium: as you might expect a calcium deficiency can be particularly impactful whilst you’re growing and developing, but did you know a lack of calcium can also lead to insomnia? To maintain the right levels of calcium you should try to consume dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese, as well as leafy greens like spinach and fish.
Fibre: did you know that only 11% of the UK adult population consumes the recommended intake of fibre? Fibre is really important when it comes to maintaining a healthy digestive system as well as helping to regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. To maintaining the right levels of fibre make sure you’re eating plenty of fruit and vegetables (5-7 portions per day!) and don’t forget the musical fruit - beans - “the more you eat, the more you toot” which is part of a perfectly healthy digestive system.
Folate: is really important in the production of red blood cells. If we don’t have enough of these cells then our body can’t transport the amount of oxygen around the body that we need and this can leave us feeling tired. Green vegetables, wholegrains and peas are a great source or keep an eye out for fortified cereals (which are often a great source of vitamin D as well).
Iodine: helps to regulate our metabolic rate. If we don’t have enough of it we can be tired, sore and in some cases gain weight. Ensuring that consume fish each week can be a great source (also a source of omega which we’ll come to shortly!) as well seakelp.
Iron: tiredness, fatigue, insomnia and in some cases even hair loss. Iron deficiency is extremely common and although there are obvious sources such as red meat, you can also obtain it from leafy greens and eggs.
Magnesium: is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions and it helps to support and maintain muscle function, bone health and energy production. Insufficient levels of magnesium can lead to tiredness and loss of appetite. Pumpkin seeds, spinach and even dark chocolate are great sources.
Omega: is really important for brain, heart and eye health. The NHS recommend that we consume oily fish twice a week to help reduce the risk of heart and cognitive problems.
Vitamin D: the best source of vitamin D is actually the sun and this explains why in the UK 1 in 5 adults has a deficiency. UK Health England recommend that we all take a vitamin D supplement to help reduce the risk of deficiency and the associated symptoms such as bone and muscle soreness, fatigue, low moods and depression. Other sources of vitamin D include eggs, oily fish and fortified cereals.
Although vitamin deficiencies are common, if you’re experiencing symptoms then it’s recommended that you book yourself an appointment with your GP for a quick check up!