Let’s face it, modern convenience food is really — well, convenient! If you work crazy hours, have a long commute or need to balance a job and family life, being able to pop a TV dinner in at the end of the day or simple open up a can or box to get your meal sounds pretty darn good. But beware: there is a downside to eating this way: the risk of vitamin deficiencies.
Fatigue is one of the most common problems in people with low vitamin levels. But these deficiencies can cause some strange signs and symptoms that you might not even really recognize as an issue. Below are seven signs that you might be vitamin deficient — along with advice about foods to get into your diet that will help to treat this problem naturally.
1. Your muscles ache
If you notice that you are having muscle aches on a regular basis for no obvious reason (such as a strenuous workout), then you might be suffering from a vitamin D deficiency. This deficiency is one of the most common, but it can be difficult to diagnose since the symptoms are so vague. But if these achy muscles are also accompanied by problems with your teeth and bones, get your levels tested. This vitamin is needed for healthy bones, teeth, and muscles.
To get more vitamin D into your diet, try included milk or other dairy products (like yogurt or cottage cheese) that have been vitamin D-fortified or fatty fish like salmon or tuna (though no more than twice a week do avoid a mercury build-up). You should also try to get small amounts of exposure to the sun on a daily basis.
2. Your feet feel numb
If you notice a feeling of numbness or lack of sensation in your feet and also find that you have trouble walking (such as problems with balance or falling often), then low levels of vitamin B12 might be the problem. Why? Because vitamin B12 is necessary for the health and function of your brain and nervous system. If you do not have enough of it in your system, this can make it more difficult for the brain to communicate to the nerves and numbness and balance problems can result.
In order to up the levels of B12 in your diet, choose to eat more animal-based foods like fish, chicken and dairy products and more plant-based foods like milk or meat substitutes and breakfast cereals that have been B12-fortifed.
3. You have problems with night vision
Do you make excuses not to go out after dinner because it is hard for you to see at night? If so, you might be suffering from a vitamin A deficiency. This is because vitamin D is needed to make pigments for the photoreceptor cells in your eyes help you to see in low light. If you do not have enough vitamin A, your night vision can suffer and it can cause other visual problems like macular degeneration as well.
A vitamin A-rich diet should include leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale, orange vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes and orange bell peppers, cantaloupes and eggs.
4. You have slow reflexes
If it feels like it takes a while to react to things — such as catching a ball or stopping the car suddenly is someone pulls out in front of you — it might not just be natural clumsiness on your part! A deficiency of vitamin E might be the problem. Vitamin E is needed for nerve health and, like B12 helps with the communication between your brain and the nerves which control your muscles and reflexes. A lack of this nutrient makes that communication hard.
Getting more vitamin E in your diet can be done by consuming more wheat germ (the richest source of this nutrient) as well as eggs and mayonnaise, organ meats, nuts and seeds and avocados.