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Are There Gaps In Your Diet?

What kind of diet do you follow? Maybe you’re a strict Keto or Paleo follower? Or maybe you’ve got more of a relaxed Vegan or Vegetarian diet? Or maybe you just eat what you want, and stop when you’re full? There’s no right or wrong answer over which of the diets above is the ‘right’ one, or which is more healthy for you and your family

Because we all have our own opinions of what the right kind of diet is, but mostly, if you’re feeling healthy and happy consuming the food you do, your diet absolutely works for you! 

But even then, there may be an issue of a nutritional gap in your diet. You can miss out on a few essential vitamins and minerals here and there, and if this problem persists for too long, you could end up with a deficiency to treat. And no one wants to have to live with the symptoms of too much Omega-3 or too little Vitamin D – they can be both subtle and obvious and a pain to live with, and they can even spiral into further disorders later on in life. 

However, you don’t have to worry about this potential outcome for long! There are many ways to investigate whether or not there’s a bit of a nutritional gap in your diet, and we’ve listed the most common deficiencies to investigate for below. 

How Many Veggie Servings Do You Get?

This is the easiest potential problem to work on on this list, so why not start with it? Because it’s likely that you don’t quite manage to eat as many vegetables as guidelines state, and that simple fact can tank your diet’s effectiveness immediately. Vegetables need to be a big part of regular meals, if even just to make sure you’ve got variety on your plate. 

According to the most recent research, it’s a good idea to eat at least half a cup of raw vegetables and half a cup of cooked vegetables every single day. Whether they’re leafy greens or not, you can mix whatever foods you want into these measurements, and serve them in whatever way you like. 

Of course, most people would say that half a plate of vegetables is the best amount to have, especially at a young age, but if cooking foods like this is a struggle for you (for whatever reason), rest easy in the knowledge that even a small half a cup measurement works well too. That’ll certainly make it easier to get the kids onboard! 

Your Magnesium Levels

A little known mineral that does a body good, Magnesium has quite a few functions in your system – over 300 in fact! These include making sure your nerves and muscles are OK, and that your immune system protects you, and even promotes a stronger heart, more stable heart rate. And a deficiency in Magnesium is rarely talked about, but it matters a lot. 

Indeed, symptoms of this kind of deficiency can include twitching and cramps in your muscles, as well as general weakness, and high blood pressure. Of course, these can all be major worries, so they shouldn’t simply be attributed to a magnesium deficiency without actual cause. 

But if you know it’s your diet that’s the problem, you can easily up your regular Magnesium intake. Are you a chocolate fan? Most of us are, and that’s good news for you! Dark chocolate contains high levels of the mineral, so feel free to chow down on a good bar while watching your favorite show! If you’re not a chocolate fan, foods such as Avocados and Whole Grain products also have the Magnesium content you’re looking for. 

Think About Your Fiber Intake

Fiber is an important part of the diet, thanks to how much work it does in the gut and beyond. Without enough fiber in your diet, it can be hard to keep your inner system flowing, and trips to the toilet can be a bit of a pain. But fiber can be hard to include in a diet simply because many people don’t know how to prepare high-intensity foods like these. 

However, even just a handful of strawberries can give you a big dose of the fiber you’re missing out on! So can pears and apples, and if you use kidney beans or chickpeas to pack out a soup a little more, you’ll get a great hit of fiber right there as well. Even a bag of popcorn, as a snack in front of the TV or at the cinema, is going to have enough fiber to keep you going for the day. 

A Potential Lack of Protein

Protein is one of the most essential nutrients your body needs to get from its diet. After all, protein helps your cells to repair themselves, and make sure your body is healthy and healing right. Without enough protein in your diet, this is going to be a lot harder on your health, and it can feel like your body’s resources are being drained. 

And this presents outward symptoms such as swelling in your extremities, drastic and sudden mood changes, trouble with your hair and nails, and even just a lack of energy. These could all be signs that you’re deficient in protein, but always check with a doctor first. 

But if it’s confirmed that protein is an issue for you, you’re going to want to fill this gap with healthy food sources that pack a real protein punch. For example, there are many mushroom health benefits, but one of the main ones is how high in protein they are, and it’s incredibly easy to mix mushrooms into meals! They have great flavor to them, and even if you don’t like the texture, they’re easy to disguise under other, stronger flavors, such as garlic or tomato. 

Keep an Eye on Your Iron

The most common kind of deficiency across the world, a lack of Iron in your diet can be very, very obvious. Leading to Anemia, an Iron deficiency can cause you to be tired and cold all the time, as well as have paler skin than usual, and even make you not want to eat at all. In young children (and even adolescents), this kind of problem is especially common, and can cause you a lot of worry as their parent. 

Red meat, as well as poultry, are both very rich sources of Iron. However, meat is being consumed less and less on a wide scale, so we need to know other sources too. These include dark green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli, as well as dried fruit like raisins. And if you’re a big seafood fan, keep on eating, because most sea dwelling creatures carry a lot of Iron in their bodies too!

Your Calcium Might Be a Worry Too

Calcium is something we worry about a lot when it comes to our kids. We want them to grow up healthy, and without calcium to help them develop strong and capable bones and teeth, this can be hard to cultivate. 

However, a lack of calcium in the diet is a worry for adults as well. Kids are much more likely to bounce back from an injury, like a broken arm or a sprained ankle, but if you have brittle bones and then break your leg, it can be much harder to recover productively. 

A big sign of a calcium deficiency is the state of your fingernails – do they break easily and all the time? If so, it can be a sign that your body is suffering from a bit of brittleness. And while specialised healthcare is needed to treat this deficiency properly, you can help things along the way by focusing on your diet. 

Dairy is a big source of calcium, but it’s not a food type that’s for everyone. Instead, eat foods like kale and soybeans in greater amounts, and try to buy ‘calcium enriched’ wheat products (like bread, pasta) whenever you go shopping. 

How Well Balanced is Your Diet? 

When it comes to eating a healthy and rich meal time after time, the best idea is to incorporate as many food groups as possible. You want what they all have to offer: the calcium in dairy, the iron in meat, the protein in vegetables, etc. You don’t want a gap to appear anywhere!

But of course, dietary requirements are never this clear cut and simple, so alternative nutrient sources need to be found. Similarly, always be sure to talk to your doctor about your worries, before you take any online advice at face value. 

So, with the points listed above, we hope to help you strike that kind of healthy balance that staves off any kind of deficiency. Most of all, this post is here to help you set a good example for your kids as well; they learn best from watching their parents, and if they see you eating green and healthy, they will too! 

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