Nutrient deficiencies are very common; with the declining quality of foods grown in our depleted soils, our ever increasing exposure to toxins and our busy lifestyles.
Here are 10 signs you may be suffering:
1. Wounds take a long time to heal
Depending on the severity, all wounds take some time to heal - but if small cuts and grazes are taking a long time you may be deficient in protein and vitamin C. Get more in your diet from source such as eggs, hemp/pea protein, and lean meats plus kiwi, peppers and citrus fruits.
2. You're constantly getting infections
This may be due to a lack of antioxidants and polyphenols. Up your intake of colourful vegetables and fruits - plus some good fats such as avocado, olive oil and chia seeds.
3. Your nails are brittle or concave
The nutrient known as biotin is thought to be responsible for brittle nails, whilst a B12 deficiency may cause discolouration. Increase your supply with eggs, nuts, whole grains, mushrooms and nutritional yeast fortified with B12.
4. Your skin is dry
A lack of omega fatty acids and vitamin E can result in dry skin. Omega-3s help nourish your skin’s lipid barrier, the layer of oils that keeps harmful germs and toxins out and essential moisture in. Try improving your intake of avocado, chia seeds, salmon, walnuts and think about taking a fish oil. We love Nothing Fishy Omega 3.
Upping your hydration can help prevent premature ageing and wrinkling of the skin.
5. You have a pale complexion
An iron deficiency can present itself in the form of a pale complexion - even pale eyelids and the flesh inside your mouth or on your gums. Iron deficiency is incredibly common, and can lead to issues in pregnancy resulting in supplementation which can make some women feel sick (an extra problem we really do not need!). Get extra iron from dark lean meats, dark leafy greens, lentils and fortified foods.
6. Cracked & sore lips
Chronically cracked lips (not just the occasional dryness) can be a sign of a Riboflavin deficiency. This is often accompanied by a dark, swollen tongue and swollen mouth. It's a good idea to get this checked straight away by a doctor if you can. Up your intake with almonds, salmon, eggs and broccoli.
7. Acne that won't go away
There is no one deficiency that leads to acne, it's more about reducing processed and sugary foods whilst simultaneously increasing vegetables, fruits and omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids help protect the skin from bacteria entering it.
8. Bleeding gums
Poking around in our gums and rigorously flossing may cause bleeding gums that is nothing to worry about - but bleeding during regular teeth brushing may be a sign of Vitamin K deficiency.
Vitamin K helps the blood clot or coagulate. Increase your intake from brussels sprouts and dark leafy greens - especially kale.
9. Thinning hair
Vitamin C, biotin and protein all contribute to hair health. Losing hair is a normal part of life - we may notice it more after birth as levels of progesterone and oestrogen which have been very high during pregnancy suddenly drop and this causes more hair loss than usual.
Try adding more; lean meats, hemp seeds, kiwi, pepper, eggs and whole grains.
10. Premature greying
Low levels of copper and Vitamin D can contribute to hair losing colour pigment prematurely. Almonds and hazelnuts can improve copper levels, whilst a vitamin D supplement, free range eggs, sunshine grown mushrooms are the best ways of improving your intake of vitamin D.
For more information on how to eat well for preconception, pregnancy and post partum, have a look at our online nutrition guide.
A good quality food state supplement can help prevent deficiencies, have a look at ours here.