Our nutrition – what we choose to eat and drink – directly affects how we think, act, and feel.
And poor nutrition, a sedentary lifestyle, tobacco use, and frequent alcohol consumption are the primary causes of chronic disease. While genetics matters, lifestyle choices and environment matter more.
Chronic diseases and conditions—such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis—are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And more than 75% of national health expenditures are attributed to treating chronic disease.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Lifestyle changes – especially in how we eat – can make a significant difference.
We can increase our consumption of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and fiber. And we can reduce how many sweets and refined and processed foods that we eat. We also can drink more plain water. All of these efforts will help.
But it still may not be easy to get all of the nutrients we need from our food.
So to avoid nutritional deficiencies, many people take supplements. A number of minerals and vitamins have been related to important health outcomes. These include calcium, iron, folic acid, magnesium, and potassium, as well as vitamins B, C, and D. And our bodies also need essential fatty acids and amino acids to function properly.
Based on your own health goals, you may want to consider if your current diet meets all of your needs or if you need to supplement.
How’s Your Nutrition? Do You Have Deficiencies?
Take a look at the chart below. The nutritional deficiency diseases listed fall in four different categories. Which of these conditions or diseases applies to you? Do your issues fall primarily in one category? Or are your issues spread across the four categories?