You don’t need to have COVID-19 for the pandemic to impact your health. The present moment weighs on many people’s consciences: Struggles such as lost jobs, loved ones’ deaths, and social isolation aren’t good for anyone.
Protecting your health during the time of COVID-19 requires a combination of tactics including mental coping strategies, social distancing measures, mask-wearing, and good nutrition. The situation’s sad reality is that those things are easier said than done.
The pandemic boosted an already-rampant hunger crisis and nutrient deficiencies in the United States. Yet, good nutrition is one of the most basic tools to fight the virus. You need to know the basic challenges of meeting good nutrition and how to overcome them to put the odds in your favor.
Take a look at this list of some of the most common nutrient deficiencies and what you can do about them.
1.Shining Light on Vitamin D Deficiency
As if current events weren’t enough of a challenge for peoples’ good spirits, winter chills set in for much of the Northern Hemisphere. Gloomy weather upsets plenty of people who prefer warmth and sunshine. Believe it or not, there’s a biological basis for the winter blues.
A common name for vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin because the body produces vitamin D when sunlight hits the skin. You can also get it from some foods, like egg yolks, fatty fish, and vitamin D-enriched milk.
Vitamin D deficiency vies for the title of most common nutrient deficiency.
It’s much more common with some groups, like older adults and people with darker skin. Older adults don’t get out as much so they get less sun and their bodies produce less vitamin D compared to most younger people. Dark skin doesn’t make as much vitamin D when the sun hits it.
If you don’t have enough vitamin D, you might feel depressed and sluggish. You could also face weak muscles and bones. A lack of vitamin D also impacts children’s growth and bone hardness.
Vegans are another group that tends to lack enough vitamin D because many sources of the vitamin are animal products. If you can’t get enough vitamin D from your diet and the sun, supplements are readily available. Pills, chewable vitamins, and gummies with the nutrient are all easy to find at any store that sells supplements.
2.Vitamin B12 for Nervous System Health
Vitamin B12 is a great supplement for nervous system health. A lack of B12 shows up as mental fog, sluggishness, and anxiety. Adding vitamin B12 to your supplements supports nerve growth, great for people with nerve injuries and mental disorders, and diseases like Alzheimer’s.
You don’t need a nervous system problem to benefit from B12, though. Everyone needs enough of this vitamin for mental function and blood formation. It’s also one of the most amazing vitamins for hair.
Signs of nutrient deficiency, in this case, include enlarged red blood cells and other blood disorders, and mental struggles. The best dietary sources of vitamin B12 come from animal products. As a result, vegetarians and vegans tend to lack enough vitamin B12.
Vegans, vegetarians, and others who don’t get enough of this nutrient from their diets should consider adding a supplement. It’s available in many multivitamins, and vitamin B12 shots are also common.
3.Calcium Comes From More Than Dairy
You may or may not have been familiar with vitamin B12. Calcium is the first nutrient people think of when considering vegans’ and vegetarians’ deficiencies. That’s because industry and even government campaigns tout dairy as the ultimate source of calcium.
The truth is that there are plenty of dietary sources of calcium. Dairy is indeed a great source. Meat-eaters can get a calcium boost from boned fish like sardines, too.
Dark green veggies like kale, broccoli, spinach, and bok choy all have high levels of calcium. That means that you needn’t eat animal products of any kind to get calcium from your diet. Eating lots of these vegetables puts you well on your way towards your daily value of calcium.
Moreover, vegans and vegetarians are far from the only people who suffer from calcium deficiency. Many people from all walks of life fail to eat enough calcium.
A lack of calcium leads to weak bones and teeth as deficient cells sap calcium from the skeleton to satisfy their needs.
The good news is that getting enough calcium isn’t hard with easy-to-find supplements.
Supplement powders for protein shakes and smoothies are an easy way to add a lot of calcium to your diet. Health professionals debate the best way to supplement calcium intake, and getting it as a natural part of your diet seems to be the best option. Still, there’s no shortage of chewables, pills, and gummies containing calcium.
4.Iron Deficiency Leads to Exhaustion and Weakness
Iron deficiency is another common health problem and, like these other deficiencies, is a particular problem for vegans and vegetarians. The struggle vegans and vegetarians face when trying to eat balanced diets is clearest with iron deficiency.
That’s because unlike these other nutrients, there’s a form of iron that only comes from meat. It’s called heme iron and the body absorbs it best. The human body absorbs non-heme iron, too, which is found in plants as well as in meat.
It’s easiest to get iron from meat, so vegans and vegetarians lack it more than others tend to. The nutrient is vital because it helps carry oxygen in the blood. Fatigue, weakness, and a poor immune system are hallmarks of a deficiency.
The good news for vegans and vegetarians is that eating enough vitamin C—one of the most common nutrients in fruits and vegetables—helps the body absorb iron.
Plenty of multivitamins contain iron, so you can treat a deficiency over the counter, but talk to a doctor if you think you might have a real lack. Iron deficiency is a serious matter, and so is taking too much of it. Targeting an iron deficiency is best done by a professional.
Beat Nutrient Deficiencies and Live Your Best Life
This information about some of the most common nutrient deficiencies is a great place to start living a healthier life. Turning your nutrition around will put you in better health and give you more energy to do the things you love.
Once you satisfy your nutritional needs, take a look around the site for more lifestyle articles. We have all the advice and tips you need to get the most from your day-to-day life. Click on another article to better another area of your life.