A balanced diet is a key to healthy living. However, due to a strenuous lifestyle, it gets difficult to maintain a healthy diet. Women often develop nutrient deficiencies due to an improper diet, hectic schedule and because of unawareness about what to and what not eat to maintain a healthy diet. If you are also puzzled about how to maintain a nutrient-filled diet, then this article might help you.Also Read - Add These 11 Nutrients to Your Everyday Diet to Keep You Going Strong in 2022

We share common deficiencies and how you can manage them by opting for a healthy diet. Also Read - How to Protect Your Joints From The Cold Weather?

Iron deficiency: Iron is a trace element. It’s the largest component of red blood cells and binds with haemoglobin and transports oxygen to the cells. Iron deficiency is very common in women due to menstruation. It is also common amongst vegetarians. It may cause anaemia, fatigue, weakened immune system, lightheadedness, dizziness, headaches and impaired brain function. Signs like skin pallor, pale conjunctiva and thin concave nails with raised edges. Also Read - Can Lack of Vitamin D Affect Your Cardio Health? A Study Answers

Food sources of iron: Red meat, shellfish, Rajma (kidney beans), lentils, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cashews and dark leafy greens such as spinach. Animal sources provide the most bioavailable iron. Plant sources are more difficult to break down. Adding vitamin C foods alongside with iron-rich foods can enhance iron absorption for example adding lime to iron-rich foods.

Vitamin D deficiency: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is called the sunshine vitamin and is essential for overall health ranging from healthy hair, healthy bones and hormone health including fertility. Deficiency symptoms are muscle weakness and bone loss. Vitamin D deficiency contributes to calcium deficiency resulting in an increased risk of fractures. A healthy diet for women consisting of vitamin D rich sources like fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, egg yolks and natural sunlight would be beneficial. Having said that it would be a good idea to check blood work for vitamin D3 frequently and consume supplements especially if you are a vegetarian.

Calcium deficiency: Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. It mineralises bone and teeth, is required for intracellular signalling, neurotransmission, muscle contraction, may also have a preventive role in weight management and a protective roll in polycystic ovarian syndrome. The main symptom of calcium deficiency is an increased risk of osteoporosis later in life especially with multiple pregnancies seen in women. The dietary sources of calcium are dairy foods, almonds, beans, dark green vegetables.

Vitamin B12 deficiency: B12 is required for proper neurological function and red blood cell formation. This vitamin is only found in natural form in animal products. Vegetarians and vegans are advised to take B12 supplements. Deficiency is common due to not enough B12 in the diet, inability to absorb B12 due to lack of intrinsic factor responsible for its absorption and particularly in people on acid- blocker medication and people with inflammation in the small bowel. Few deficiency signs are lemon-yellow tint to the skin and eyes and smooth, red, thickened tongue. The dietary sources of B12 are salmon, lamb, and eggs.

Protein deficiency: Protein is an important macronutrient also known as building blocks of muscles. Hair, skin and nails are made of protein and most importantly high quality and adequate protein are imperative for the creation of the best hormones in the body resulting in better performance, productivity and overall well-being. Signs of deficiency are patchy brown skin on cheeks, atopy and loss of muscle mass. A balanced diet comprising of adequate protein daily would be beneficial. Dietary sources of protein are legumes, eggs, cottage cheese, curd, chicken, fish, nuts and seeds.

(With inputs from IANS)