You hear it all the time: listen to your body. While that is an important instruction, it would be easier to do if you could understand what your body was trying to tell you. Our bodies communicate all the time, trouble is, we aren't always speaking the same language.
When things are out of balance, our bodies can send out some strange signals. And, unfortunately, imbalances, like vitamin deficiencies, are not hard to come by. "With today's diet of processed foods, it's easy to become vitamin-deficient, either by not eating enough of the right foods or not absorbing them properly due to digestive issues," says Dr. Susan Blum
, the founder of the Blum Center for Health and the author of the new book The Immune System Recovery Plan
. "You may not get a disease, but you can end up with impaired functioning, because vitamins are cofactors for all the biochemical reactions in the body. We need them in order to function properly."
While functional impairments are not good, they can often be corrected with some simple tweaks to your diet. Of course, if these tweaks don't solve the problem, you should consult your physician!
Here are 5 weird signs that you may be vitamin-deficient:
1. Cracks at the corner of your mouth
Zinc, iron, and B vitamins like niacin (B3), riboflavin (B2), B12. "It's common if you're a vegetarian to not get enough iron, zinc, and B12," Blum says. This is also common if you are not getting enough protein in your diet.
eat lots of poultry, salmon, tuna, eggs, oysters, clams, sun-dried tomatoes, Swiss chard, tahini, peanuts, and legumes. But remember, iron absorption is improved by vitamin C so pair these foods with things like broccoli, red peppers, kale, and cauliflower.
2. Red, scaly rash on the face and hair loss
Biotin (B7). Generally speaking, our bodies store fat-soluble vitamins like (A, D, E, K) but not the water-soluble B vitamins.
Salmon, avocados, mushrooms, cauliflower, soybeans, nuts, raspberries, bananas, and eggs. But make sure the eggs are cooked. Raw eggs contains a protein called avidin that actually inhibits the body's ability to absorb biotin!
3. Red or white acne-like bumps on the cheeks, arms, thighs, and butt
Essential fatty acids and vitamins A and D.
Increase your healthy fat intake while taking a pass on saturated fats. Eat more salmon, sardines, and nuts like walnuts and almonds. It is also a good idea to add seeds like hemp, flax and chia to your diet. To boost your vitamin A intake, eat your leafy greens and colorful vegetables like carrots, red peppers, and sweet potatoes. "This provides beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, which your body will use to make vitamin A," Blum says. "For vitamin D, though, I recommend a supplement—2,000 IU a day in one that also contains vitamins A and K, which help with D absorption."
4. Tingling, prickling or numbness in hands or feet
B vitamins like folate (B9), B6 and B12. "It's a problem directly related to the peripheral nerves and where they end in the skin," says Blum. She also notes that these physical symptoms may also come with anxiety, depression, anemia, fatigue, and hormone imbalances.
Reach for some beans (pinto, black, kidney, lima), eggs, beets, octopus, muscles, clams, oysters, poultry, spinach or asparagus.
5. Intense muscle cramps in toes, calves, foot arches, or back of legs
Magnesium, calcium, and potassium. "If it's happening frequently, it's a tip-off that you're lacking in these," Blum says. Pay close attention to these symptoms if you've been training hard with The BodyRock Advanced Bootcamp (get this Bootcamp and so much more on SweatFlix℠
), since you can lose these minerals, and B vitamins, through heavy sweating.
Eat bananas, almonds, hazelnuts, squash, cherries, apples, grapefruit, broccoli, bok choy, and dark greens like kale, spinach and dandelion.
Take a closer look at the foods that fix these problems, they aren't strange or hard to find. They are normal, every day foods that make up a healthy, balanced diet. If you are used to eating processed foods and find these healthy shifts feel overwhelming, we can help. The BodyRock Meal Plan is not just
a meal plan! It is a recipe book and a nutrition guide that will help you master healthy eating once and for all! Get your copy here
Have you noticed any of these symptoms before? Did dietary shifts remedy the situation?