The truth is - you are what you eat! The food you eat directly influences your physiological growth and well-being throughout your life.

Nutritional deficiency is quite common and occurs when the body fails to absorb the required nutrients from the food. In addition, a diet which is high on sugars, carbohydrates, saturated fats and low in essential vitamins and minerals are other causes. 

High instances of nutritional deficiency is witnessed during adolescence. And it aggravates further at a later stage in life leading to obesity, osteoporosis, hyperlipidemia and hormonal imbalance.

Good nutrition is pivotal for better health, stamina, performance and to boost memory. Let’s read about the common nutritional deficiencies and foods to meet your daily nutritional needs.

Iron Deficiency

Iron is a vital mineral and the component in red blood cells which binds with hemoglobin. It transports oxygen and nutrients to every cell and organ in the body. The most common outcome with iron deficiency is anemia, where the number of red blood cells and the ability to carry oxygen falls drastically. Iron deficiency is very common in teenagers and more in adolescent girls during menstruation. Fatigue, a weakened immune system and poor brain function are the symptoms associated with iron deficiency.

Iron-Rich Foods:

Good sources of iron include lean meat, fish, beans, nuts and dark green leafy vegetables.

Iodine Deficiency

Iodine is an important mineral necessary for normal functioning of thyroid gland and secretion of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones play a crucial role in several bodily functions including growth, metabolism, bone strength. Iodine deficiency causes enlargement of thyroid gland a condition called goitre, which can lead to rapid heart rate, shortness of breath and obesity. In children, iodine deficiency may lead to mental retardation and growth impairment.

Iodine-Rich Foods:

Foods that contain iodine include seaweed, fish, dairy eggs and fortified iodized salt.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin essential for normal functioning of brain, nerve and blood formation. Each and every cell in the body requires Vitamin B12 for normal functioning and it should be provided in the diet. As Vitamin B12 is rich in animal sources, vegan and vegetarian may be deficient in this vitamin and symptoms include impaired brain function, megaloblastic anemia and increased homocysteine level which elevates the risk of other diseases.

Vitamin B12 Foods:

Rich sources include meat, shellfish, eggs, milk and milk products.

Calcium Deficiency

Calcium is a vital mineral required for strengthening bones, teeth and maintenance of bones. Calcium serves as signalling molecules in the brain, nerves and muscles function. Calcium deficiency will make the bone fragile, soft and weak that causes rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults.

Calcium-Rich Foods:

Include dark green leafy vegetables, fish, milk and milk products to meet calcium needs.

Vitamin A deficiency

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, which plays a vital role in maintaining healthy skin, bone immunity and cell membrane. It also makes the eye pigment which necessary for good vision. Vitamin A deficiency is very common among preschoolers’ which may weaken the immune system, leading to poor vision and eventually resulting in blindness.

Vitamin A Foods:

Dietary sources abundant in Vitamin A are carrots, sweet potato, mangoes, dark green vegetable, lean meat and fish.