Did you know that the rise in our waist sizes, physical and mental fatigue, chronic aches and pains, high blood pressure, and stress levels all have one thing in common? I’m sure it is no surprise that the one link is our diet and or our lack of a healthy diet. This same link is also responsible for many of the risks associated with diseases and chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and undesirable cholesterol levels. But the best news is that diet and nutritional deficiencies are easy to tweak and can have tremendous outcomes on your health when done right.
In fact, a recent study funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation analyzed the diets of 195 countries and discovered that a suboptimal diet increased the risk of mortality and disease. In laymen terms that equates to death and chronic illnesses (yikes!). The authors of the study found that it wasn’t only what we were eating (too much sodium and sugar-sweetened beverages), but it also was what we weren’t eating, like fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and calcium-rich foods.
The scary part is that most of us don’t even know it, but we lack vital nutrients that are required for producing energy that is utilized by every organ, metabolizing our meals (big or small), building our bones, repairing our muscles, keeping our blood flowing and our heart pumping, and helping us rebound from our stressful days.
Believe it or not, nearly all of us are deficient in not just one nutrient, but a handful of essential nutrients. To give you an idea, over 70% of the U.S. population is deficient in magnesium, even though high amounts are in chocolate. Maybe it’s because we enjoy milk chocolate more than the good for us chocolate...chocolate with 80% or higher cacao. Below is an overview of some essential nutrients that are most commonly deficient in our bodies.
B vitamins including vitamin B1, B2, B12, and Folate (also called B9)
Other nutrients, often called conditional nutrients, are those that our body requires more of because of stress, poor glucose control, too much weight, spikes in our blood pressure, medications, and even exercise. These include antioxidant nutrients and amino acids, as well as some minerals and vitamins.
But wait! Don't go off running to buy all these nutrients in supplements just yet because everyone’s needs are different. Even though we are 99% similar, how our body runs and operates is purely unique to every one of us. Some nutrients that are essential to one individual are not needed by someone else, and may even be harmful.
Over the next few months, I will be doing a series of posts that will take a deeper dive into exploring each one of the commonly deficient nutrients. I’ll go over the role of the nutrient and what happens when we lack adequate amounts, as well as the foods and or supplements to help boost our levels.
As a functional nutritionist, I can help you identify exactly what nutrients you are missing and develop a plan to restore your body and help reverse some of the health issues you may be having. If going after diet and nutrition is your preferred approach (over medications), then consider purchasing one of my consultation packages. I’d love to get to know you, share my knowledge and help you achieve your goals!
Health effects of dietary risks in 195 countries, 1990–2017: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. (2019). The Lancet, The Lancet.