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Could you be mineral deficient?

Almost six in ten Brits are clueless about symptoms which could show they are suffering from a mineral deficiency. Here we look at some of the common signs.

It's easy to associate 'mineral deficiency' with having severe and easily recognisable symptoms, when in fact everyday issues like headaches, low mood and even bad breath could be down to a shortage in minerals and or vitamins.

Nutritionist Rob Hobson says: 'Many of these symptoms are things people put up with every day, thinking they are just par for the course. But often, they could be a sign that you are suffering with a vitamin or mineral deficiency and simply eating foods which contain the item you are lacking could ease your symptoms.

For example, a headache could be an indicator that you need more magnesium, vitamin B12 and B6 - something you can get from eating pumpkin seeds, prunes, banana or fortified soy milk'.

Mineral and vitamin deficiency symptoms and their dietary saviours

Our experts have revealed seven of the most common symptoms that could point towards a vitamin or mineral deficiency and how you could utilise your diet to help prevent them.

1. Your lips are cracked

This could be a sign of iron and/or vitamin C deficiency. Foods that could help are:

  • Red meat
  • Red peppers
  • Kale
  • Tofu.

2. You've got a persistent case of dandruff

You may be lacking in biotin or vitamin B7, or you may be deficient in essential fatty acids. Try the following:

  • Fresh salmon
  • Almonds
  • Peanut butter
  • Sunflower seeds

3. Acne has been troubling you

Acne has been linked to those with a possible zinc deficiency, so if you're struggling to get rid of it, incorporate these foods into your diet:

  • Crab
  • Spinach
  • Cashew nuts
  • Cocoa powder

Your hair is thinning

Similarly to cracking lips, this could be a mild form of iron and vitamin C deficiency. Give the following foods a go:

  • Lemons
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Strawberries
  • Red kidney beans

You've got increasingly bad breath

Poor oral health can actually be linked to gut health, as well as a possible iron deficiency. For this try:

  • Raisins
  • Peas
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Adzuki beans

You're experiencing low mood

There could be a link between low mood and a deficiency in vitamin D as well as in the B vitamins and magnesium. Try:

  • Quinoa
  • Salmon
  • Avocado
  • French beans

You suffer from regular headaches

Dietary factors could play a role in regular headaches, along with a lack of magnesium as well as vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. The following foods may help:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Prunes
  • Banana
  • Fortified soy milk

Could you benefit from supplements?

Are you one of the 44% of Brits that are unaware of the different minerals and vitamins they should be taking for good health and normal bodily function?

Without knowing the role of vitamins and minerals within the body it's difficult to predict which ones you're not getting enough of.

If you do experience any of the symptoms above, taking the required vitamin or mineral in supplement form is an option and can be an easy way to ensure you are providing your body with the nutrition it needs to remain in good working order.

For example, if you're having trouble with tiredness or lethargy or experiencing mild anxiety as a result of magnesium deficiency, magnesium supplements, bath flakes or even magnesium gel could help to ease your pain.

Magnesium is required by the body to convert the food you eat into energy, which is important for preventing tiredness and fatigue, and the sleep regulating hormone melatonin is disturbed when Magnesium is deficient.

This is just one example of the importance of minerals and vitamins for your health, and shows how they play more of a role in your general wellbeing than you may realise.

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Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible, supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.