Nutrient deficiencies may seem like a problem only prevalent in the past when ample and diverse foods were not easy to come by. The truth is that even today, despite hundreds of shops offering quality and healthy food choices and ingredients, people still suffer from such health issues.
This phenomenon is expected since not everyone is willing to change their diets, given how the unhealthiest foods are also the tastiest. However, once health issues born from these deficiencies start to arise, they see the missteps in their consumption and immediately seek the help of an online doctor in Singapore.
To prevent such ailments from affecting you, read below about the common nutrient deficiencies that may affect you, what problems they may bring, and how to keep them from affecting your daily life.
1. Iron deficiency
Iron is a vitamin crucial for producing red blood cells in your body, the agents responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the entire body. If iron levels dip below average, you can expect to notice symptoms such as an unexplainable lack of energy or vigour and that dizzying feeling after you stand too quickly from your seat.
When iron continues to remain scarce in the body, it can then result in a condition known as anaemia, whose symptoms include:
- Weakness and fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Faster heartbeat
Symptoms of anaemia will be mild at first, but as your iron stores continue to deplete, they will only grow more intense. A simple remedy is to increase the amount of iron in your diet with iron-rich foods such as red or organ meat, shellfish like clams, oysters, mussels, and canned sardines.
For non-meat options, beans, seeds, and dark, leafy greens are the best choices to up your iron levels.
2. Vitamin D Deficiency
According to the National Health Survey conducted in 2010, about 40% of Singaporeans have vitamin D deficiency, with another 8% suffering from a more severe case. Even after a decade later, those figures seem to have not improved by much.
The reason why vitamin D deficiency is concerning is that it’s a crucial component of bone health. If left untreated, it can result in symptoms like muscle weakness and bone pain and eventually soften one’s bones.
There are a couple of ways to boost your body’s vitamin D levels and keep your bones healthy and strong. The first is simple: spend time outside and get some sun. Ideally, you should expose yourself to sunlight twice a week for at least five to 30 minutes.
After exposure to the sun’s UV rays, your body, or more specifically your skin, can then produce the vitamin D you need. However, that method alone will not suffice since the second step involves adding more of the vitamin into your diet. Foods like yoghurt, fortified milk, and fatty fish are only a few of the best options you can include in your diet.
3. Potassium Deficiency
Potassium is a critical nutrient that supports many aspects of your body’s normal processes, such as the proper functioning of vital components like your heart, muscles, and nerves. In addition, it’s also helpful in offsetting the negative impact of sodium on your blood pressure by maintaining it at an optimal level.
Potassium deficiency generally lasts for a short term due to several health issues or medications such as diarrhoea, excessive sweating, laxatives, antibiotics, or diuretics.
However, it can also be due to more severe cases such as unrestrained alcohol consumption and chronic diseases like kidney disease, to name a few. If you’re low on potassium, some of the symptoms you may experience are:
- Muscle weakness
- Palpitations or abnormal heart rhythm
Maintaining one’s potassium levels is simple enough. All that’s required are potassium-rich foods such as milk, bananas, kidney beans, lentils, and other legumes.
For adult men, it’s recommended to intake around 3,400 mg of potassium daily. For women, about 2,600 mg will suffice.
4. Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 is another vitamin that’s crucial to red blood cell production. However, it’s also valuable for other processes such as DNA production and in improving neurotransmitter function. Symptoms of this deficiency come in the form of:
- Numbness in limbs, specifically in the hands and feet
- Fatigue and weakness
- Issues in walking and balance
- Difficulty in thinking and memory loss
These ailments can either come on swiftly or gradually, and given that there’s a wide range of symptoms, you’re likely to not notice them until later on. Getting more vitamin B12 is easy since it is available in everyday animal products such as fish, chicken, yoghurt, and milk.
For vegetarians, who are more likely to be at risk of becoming deficient, it’s recommended to intake foods fortified with vitamin B12 like breakfast cereals or plant-based milk.
Additionally, multivitamins or supplements that specifically contain the vitamin are also viable options. Still, it’s best to have an online medical consultation in Singapore to get the right prescription for you.
Given how a balance in nutrients is key to good health, it only makes sense that having a proper and well-rounded diet is the first step to maintaining that balance in our body.
If you ever feel some of the symptoms listed above and believe it may be an effect from your diet, it’s recommended to consult a doctor as soon as possible via the MyCLNQ app.
As the leading app for telehealth in Singapore, you can receive all the medical attention and prescriptions you need for your ailments in just a few clicks, as well as any other medical needs you may have, such as a private ambulance service and e-commerce for your medicinal needs.