According to the World Health Organization (WHO), adequate nutrition is the foundation of good health. What we eat affects our physical, emotional, and mental health. Poor nutrition results from insufficient amounts of food, an overabundance of food, or foods with low nutritive value. All three result in insufficient nutrients, which can lead to seven symptoms of poor nutrition. These include tooth decay, anemia, depression, beriberi, constipation, diabetes, and stroke.
1. Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is one of the most common symptoms of poor nutrition and one of the easiest to manage. Avoiding foods like cake, candy, and dried fruits that stick to the teeth helps discourage tooth decay. Dentists recommend replacing these foods with raw veggies, nuts, plain yogurt, cheese, and sugarless gum or candy. Overeating also contributes to tooth decay because it creates more opportunities for oral bacteria to develop. Cutting back on snacking helps prevent these opportunities.
A diet low in iron, folate, and/or vitamin B12 can result in a reduced blood cell count or nutritional anemia. Physical characteristics include pale skin, fatigue, and weakness. Treatment includes vitamin supplements and foods rich in minerals like meat, poultry, eggs, vegetables, and fortified cereals.
Eating a normal, healthy diet should provide the body plenty of thiamine. Bodies that don't get enough thiamine can develop beriberi. Because many foods in the U. S. are vitamin-enriched, beriberi is rare. It does show up in people who abuse alcohol because excessive alcohol limits the absorption of certain nutrients in the body, including thiamine.
A number of poor dietary choices can cause constipation including eating foods high in animal fats like dairy products, meats, and eggs, or those high in sugar and low in fiber. Inadequate amounts of water and drinking too much caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate the body, which also leads to constipation.
When the body is unable to produce enough or any insulin it causes elevated levels of glucose in the blood, or diabetes. Many experts attribute the development of type 2 diabetes to overeating and too little exercise. In addition to engaging in more physical activity, people looking to avoid type 2 diabetes should add foods to the diet that help stabilize blood sugars like whole grains, beans, vegetables, and low-glycemic fruits.
Because it can increase blood pressure and cholesterol levels, an unhealthy diet elevates risks for stroke. Experts typically recommend plenty of low-fat, low-sugar, and high-fiber foods like fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, legumes, and whole grains. Too much sodium raises blood pressure, so people should limit daily salt consumption to no more than 6 g (about one teaspoon).
In addition to physical symptoms, there are mental symptoms of poor nutrition. Food patterns like poor appetite, skipping meals, and cravings for sweet foods can contribute to the onset, duration, and severity of depression. Taking measures to eliminate these patterns may help offer relief.
When it comes to the health, nutrition plays a key role. People can prevent symptoms of poor nutrition by eating proper amounts and proper types of food. A nutritious, well-balanced diet contains:
- Whole fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Lean meats
- Low-fat dairy products
- Nuts and seeds
- Beans and legumes
- Healthy fats