Nutritional Deficiencies: An American Epidemic

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A healthy diet is the primary source of the minerals and vitamins we need for mental and physiological functioning. Yet despite how crucial these nutrients are, almost 90% of the U.S. population is nutritionally deficient.

How can this be?

There are several reasons why the U.S. diet doesn’t give us the nutrients we need. For one thing, our crops are not as nutritious as they were at least 70 years ago, and the fruits and vegetables in our food supply may no longer be enough to prevent dietary deficiencies.

Another cause is the excessive consumption of processed foods that have empty calories and are devoid of critical nutrients. Genetic mutations, environmental pollution, and stress can also affect your body’s ability to absorb nutrients in adequate amounts.

Vitamins and Minerals with Limited Availability

Further compounding rampant deficiencies, certain essential nutrients can be difficult to obtain. Here are a few examples:

Vitamin D – We need vitamin D to strengthen and build our bones. A large part of the population doesn’t have high enough levels of Vitamin D due to a lack of time spent in the sun. Low Vitamin D is associated with depression and increased risk of fractures.

Choline – Choline supports many physiological functions, such as brain development, cell signaling, and warding off inflammation. You would need to eat 5 to 7 cups of vegetables daily to meet dietary choline requirements. You can also consume 4 to 5 eggs or organ meat for the required amounts. Choline deficiency can cause fatty liver disease and neurological problems.

Vitamin B9 – Otherwise known as folate, B9 is found naturally in produce and helps red blood cell formation and brain functioning. The government has allowed manufacturers to fortify processed foods with synthetic folate to ensure consumers get sufficient amounts. Low folate levels can lead to anemia and digestion problems.

Support from a Cincinnati Nutrition Counselor

Eating a diet of healthy meats, vegetables, fruit, and nuts can help you get the essential nutrients you need, but you may need additional support. Supplementation, including multivitamins, can also offer protection against potential deficiencies.

It can be challenging to maintain a diet that meets your health needs. If you have questions or need guidance, an integrative health provider in Cincinnati at Blatman Health and Wellness Center can work with you to create meal plans and recommend supplements to help you maintain optimal well-being.

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