Malnutrition – Consequences and prevention
Malnutrition occurs not only in poorer countries, but also in western industrialized countries. Why this is so, what effect this deficiency has on our health and how you can prevent, you will learn in this article.
What is malnutrition?
Malnutrition is either quantitative in nature, as I have described in the article Malnutrition, or qualitative in nature.
Today it is about qualitative malnutrition. The quantitative variant is concerned with the fact that too little energy is absorbed in the form of calories.
In the qualitative variant, the problem is that too few nutrients are taken up, which the body urgently needs for its functions.
If such nutrient deficiencies persist over a long period of time, short-term disabilities, but also serious health problems can arise.
How does malnutrition develop?
At first, one might think that such shortages arise in countries where poverty prevails. In fact, nutrient deficiencies also occur much more frequently in such regions.
Nevertheless, it is increasingly occurring in wealthy industrialized countries. Most of the time it is not because too little food is consumed, but because of the high degree of processing.
While natural, unprocessed foods should be the basis, unfortunately the reality is often different.
Westerners consume too many “foods” that:
- are highly processed
- contain hardly any nutrients
- contain too much sugar
- contain too much salt
- are full of chemical additives
The strong processing of many foods means that they hardly have any nutritional value added, but are just plain satirists.
- convenience foods
- soft drinks
- Salty munchies
- and many more
If you consume a lot of processed foods, it can quickly lead to a shortage.
Which defects are common?
- Iron Deficiency: Iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiency symptoms. Iron is u.a. needed to make red blood cells. Especially women are particularly affected during the period and pregnancy.
- Vitamin B-12: Vitamin B-12 is extremely important for cognitive functions as well as for nerves and performance. Vegans are particularly affected because B-12 only occurs in animal foods in sufficient quantities.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is u.a. needed for bones and teeth. A deficiency leads to diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis and other complaints.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D, which is actually one of the hormones. It is vital, a deficiency leads to depression, immunodeficiency & promotes cancer risk. It is inadequate in food and should be absorbed by the sun.
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A is important for the immune system, bones, eyes and other tasks. A deficiency can lead to immunodeficiency and reduced eyesight.
- Calcium: Bones, teeth, the heart, the muscles and our nerves depend on calcium. If we have a calcium deficiency, osteoporosis and other damage can occur.
How can you prevent these nutrient deficiencies?
If you eat on average, you probably have enough protein and fat in your diet.
For the above micronutrients, unfortunately, it looks different for many people. However, you can cover all minerals, vitamins and other micronutrients very well, if you eat well balanced.
What does that mean? Monday burger, Tuesday Schnitzel and on Wednesday pizza? Certainly not
The basis of your daily diet should always be fresh, unprocessed foods. These include, for example:
- sweet potatoes
- Lean meat
- Vegetables in all colors
- Green leafy vegetables
- Whole grains
Not all of these foods are completely unprocessed, but still useful and healthy. The listed foods contain a lot of carbohydrates, proteins, fats as well as vitamins and minerals.
But even if you’re a vegan or a vegetarian, you can provide yourself with all the nutrients you need. However, vegans need to take vitamin B-12 supplements as there are insufficient levels in plant foods.
Fast food, white flour and sugary products can be consumed from time to time, but should be the exception.
Of course, it is still very important that you take enough water every day. In addition, you should often stay in the sun, to get some fresh air and vitamin D. Make sure not to get sunburned.
If you are unsure whether you have covered everything or have a nutritional deficiency, you can also have it tested by your family doctor.
Malnutrition actually occurs in Western countries. The lack of various vitamins and minerals can cause illness and unpleasant problems.
That’s why it’s very important for you to always be careful to cover everything. Of course, if you want to gain weight, you always have to keep an eye on your calories.
For this I have provided you with a free e-book that you can now download for free: