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The human body needs the essential nutrients to sustain optimal functioning. These include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. As they are not produced within the body, one needs to consume them externally. When you do not eat a balanced diet you will most likely show signs of poor nutrition.
Before getting into the signs of nutritional deficiency, one should understand what exactly a nutritional deficiency is? A nutritional deficiency occurs when the body doesn’t absorb or get from food the required level of a nutrient. This condition is also known as Malnourishment. Most diseases in humans are directly or indirectly related to a lack of necessary nutrients in the diet. Every year, 2.6 million children across the globe perish due to the problem of Malnourishment.
The body gives out several unpleasant symptoms when there is a shortage of essential nutrients. These signals help to identify the specific nutritional deficiency that in turn, helps to fix the problem at the earliest. The following are the top 10 signs of nutrient deficiency in children as well as adults.
Signs of Poor Nutrition
1) Anxiety Problems
Several studies have shown a link between poor diet and mental disorders in humans. The “low” feeling can also be due to a lack of protein in the diet. Proteins help in synthesizing mood-controlling neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals play a significant role in maintaining calmness within the body. Hence, a diet with proper levels of protein fixes these nutritional imbalances, lifting the overall mood.
It has been observed that children who are hyperactive and over-excited tend to have poor digestive health. An uneven combination of bacterial flora in the gut can disrupt both physical and mental health. Having the right amount of gelatin and broth in the diet can ease digestive problems. One should also include fiber and prebiotics that are well known for supporting a healthy digestive tract.
3) Crowding and Spacing of Teeth
There is evidence that suggests, energy-protein malnutrition is connected with crippled growth and the development of facial bones. Dr. Weston A, the author of the book Nutritional and Physical Degeneration, noticed a relationship between crowded teeth and nutritional deficiencies while traveling all over the world. He observed that children who ate modern, processed foods or whose mothers ate deficiently during pregnancy, had children who developed poor dental spacing. On the other hand, those who ate a healthy and balanced diet had even spacing of teeth, also having room for the wisdom teeth.
4) Erratic Behaviour
A lack of omega fatty acids in the diet can aggravate a depressive mood leading to frustration. It has been noted that patients diagnosed with depression had a significantly lower level of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA is an Omega 3 fatty acid is well known for promoting good brain health. Nuts, seeds, and fish are excellent sources of DHA, that also boost retinal health. It is important to note that good saturated fatty acids like butter and coconut oil preserve the Omega 3s in the brain. An abnormal level of estrogen also causes terrible mood swings. To prevent this, it is advisable to give children daily a piece of carrot.
5) Fat build up in the liver
The excessive build-up of fats in the liver is a major indication of protein deficiency. If left untreated, the condition can intensify to a situation, causing inflammation, scarring and ultimately liver failure. In children, the fat-build up in the liver is known as Non- Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), where the problem is not due to alcoholism. In adults, chronic alcoholism and obesity can block the absorption of proteins, leading to an accumulation of fats in the liver.
6) Problems in Skin, Hair, and Nails
As skin, hair, and nails are largely made of protein, a deficiency of it clearly leaves a mark on these three areas. Hairfall, faded hair color, patches in face and head and brittle nails are some of the major signs of a lack of protein intake. The redness and flakiness of the skin, also occur due to the inadequacy of protein. As the body doesn’t get the protein externally, it manages to find the resources within. It is the reason for the manifestation of these symptoms.
7) Delayed Growth In Children
The reduced growth rate in children is observed when there is a shortage of protein intake. Protein apart from being the building block of muscles is also an essential component in promoting body growth. In fact, stunted growth is the most common sign of child malnourishment. By giving the children a diet having a healthy blend of protein, carbohydrates, and fats daily, one can surely boost their growth rate. It is also advisable to give them foods rich in minerals like Iron, Vitamin D, and Zinc. Delayed growth is a major sign of poor nutrition.
8) Intense Food Craving
Low protein intake can also lead to an intense craving of food in both children as well as adults. It happens when the body tries to restore its natural levels of protein by increasing the appetite. There might be another reason for excessive craving. As protein and fiber are constituents that give a feeling of fullness, a shortage of these nutrients can make people eat a lot more than what is required.
9) Brain Fog
Brain fog involves feelings of confusion and disorientation. People experiencing brain fog finds it tough to store and recall information, A lack of Vitamin B12 in the diet is known to cause brain fog in people. Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in boosting cognitive skills and also in the synthesis of red blood cells. Foods which are high in Vitamin B12 include Sardine Fish, Tuna Fish, Fortified Cereals, Eggs, Dairy products, etc. A lack of protein in the diet can also lead to an inability to focus and concentrate, especially in children.
These are some of the common signs of poor nutrition. A balanced diet comprising of all the vital nutrients is equally essential for children as well as adults. Adults should primarily focus on dropping habits like smoking and drinking, as these two are associated with a lack of nutrient absorption. Having a certain dose of physical exercise daily boosts the overall metabolism, helping tremendously to stay healthy and fit.
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