If you are like most people, this time of year you are probably thinking about how to live a healthier lifestyle to boost your immune system before cold & flu season hits. However, eating healthy doesn’t always guarantee that your body will get enough of the vitamins it needs to keep your immunity up. Below are the most common vitamin deficiencies found in adults and a few ways to make sure you are getting enough.
A vitamin B6 deficiency can overtime cause changes in mood, such as irritability, anxiety and depression. Try incorporating more chickpeas, tuna, salmon, whole grains (portion size only), ground beef, chicken breast, potatoes and spinach in your diet to be sure you are getting enough of this vitamin.
A deficiency in vitamin D is very common and can lead to other diseases. Most people have no symptoms, but some people experience fatigue or muscle weakness. In severe cases, deficiency can lead to thin, brittle, or misshapen bones.
The good news is you can get enough vitamin D from adequate nutrition and sunlight exposure. Increasing the amount of fish, mushrooms and almond milk in your diet is a great way to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D. You can also make sure to spend time outdoors, even during the winter. Take a walk for 15-20 in the morning or during your lunch break. Just don’t forget to wears SPF!
Our body needs vitamin E to help keep the immune system strong against viruses and bacteria. Low levels of vitamin E can cause digestive problems, which will lead to poor absorption of nutrients from the digestive tract. If you aren’t getting enough of this vitamin, you may also experience nervous system problems in your hands, legs, arms and feet, dry hair, and slow tissue healing.
Vitamin E is found naturally in foods such as wheat germ, nuts (such as peanuts, hazelnuts and especially almonds) and in green vegetables like spinach and broccoli.
When it comes to this vitamin many adults believe they are getting enough, especially if they are milk drinkers. But the truth is the natural aging process, low levels of vitamin D and hormonal changes can all contribute to a calcium deficiency.
Dairy products are high in calcium, but there are many plant-based sources of calcium as well. Collard greens, kale, navy beans, tofu, tempeh, and broccoli are great sources of this vitamin. Plus, many nut milks on the shelves are fortified with calcium.
Folic acid is a type of B vitamin. A deficiency in this can result in an insufficient number of healthy red blood cells (vitamin deficiency anemia). Symptoms include fatigue and mouth sores. You can also look pale if you aren’t getting enough.
Foods which are high in folic acid include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, peas, chickpeas and brown rice. It can also be found in fortified breakfast cereals.
Signs of a magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms can occur. Caffeine and sugar can deplete our bodies of magnesium.
Magnesium isn’t hard to find naturally in foods. It can be found in spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, almonds, black beans, avocado, figs, dark chocolate and bananas.