If you think about it, warning labels are quite an important invention when it comes to the good of humanity.
They save us from our own stupidity such as burning our hands when the stove is too hot.
Or swallowing things that are too big to fit into our mouths.
Or keeping our can of hairspray away from an open flame, lest it explode in our faces leaving us ugly and unattractive.
But unfortunately, our bodies don’t come with warning labels. It’s a real shame, because bright yellow stickers such as, “do not overfeed”, or “do not sit on chair for an extended period of time” can really go a long way to keeping us away from an early grave.
However, what our body lacks in warning labels, it makes up for with symptoms. It’s your body’s way of saying, “hey, something is not working right, fix it!”
Generally speaking, if you’re experiencing a symptom then it means you’re on your way towards really bad news if you don’t take action right now. A well functioning body shouldn’t produce many symptoms, if at all.
So let’s take a look 5 of the most common symptoms that basically reveal holes in your diet, along with how you should plug them.
1 – Icy or Cold Hands
First of all, if you live in an area where the winter months can get obnoxious, then having cold hands on obviously chilly days isn’t something to get worried about.
That’s because your body gives major arteries a higher priority, sending more blood and warmth to critical organs (such as your heart, lungs, and brain) and less blood to your hands and feet.
This causes the blood vessels in your hands and wrists to become smaller – also known as vasoconstriction. And this type of constriction is only a critical problem when it’s abnormally strong or prolonged.
But if circulation is ruled out, then another problem could be that you’re deficient in iodine. Taking a supplement or eating foods such as kelp, shrimp, cranberries, potatoes and yogurt can help.
Cold hands could also be a symptom of not eating enough calories. If you’re on a diet, try adding back in a few hundred calories per day. Very low-calorie diets can interfere with circulation. This is OK for short term results if that’s what you’re after (such as getting ripped for a photo-shoot, for example) but don’t keep your body deprived for too long, or you’ll pay a steep price!
2 – Slow Healing
True fans know that Wolverine’s real advantage aren’t his Adamantium claws, but his ability to heal almost instantly, making him nearly immortal. He could pick up a sword and be just as dangerous.
Speaking of swords, we can’t forget Deadpool! Sure, he’s got inhuman speed and strength, but what really keeps him in the game, is his ability to heal and regenerate every part of his body. Like Wolverine, this makes him basically immortal. The only difference is that he’s not as pretty, and his speed of healing isn’t as fast.
While us mortals cannot heal as completely as these two superheros (it would be pretty badass to shrug off a bullet to the head), we should definitely be worried if it’s taking forever to heal from general cuts, scrapes and bruises.
So if your “boo-boo” is taking an abnormally long time to heal, here are a few things you can do (this is also great advice for all superheroes, just saying):
- Eat more calories. To heal and rebuild tissue, your body needs to get its raw materials from somewhere. Not eating enough while expecting to heal is like asking a carpenter to build you a tree house without providing any wood.
- Increase protein intake. While upping calories is a good idea, making sure those calories come from quality foods is also important. Protein is the most important macronutrient that your body needs to rebuild tissue, so provide it! A good amount to eat is your bodyweight in grams (so if you weigh 100lbs, you’d eat 100g of protein a day)
- Increase Fluid Intake. About two-thirds of your body is composed of water. This means every vital function, including recovery, needs optimal hydration levels to function at its best. So get drinking.
- Take Omega 3 Fish Oil. A potent supplement which acts as an effective anti-inflammatory, can boost immune function, and comes with a host of other benefits that keep your body functioning optimally. It would literally take me 10 pages to discuss every single benefit of fish oil. No joke.
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3 – Brittle Nails & Hair
Having hair that falls off and your nails that crumble like potato chips isn’t a good look. Nor is it a good sign of what’s going on inside the body.
Both your hair and nails are made from a similar form of protein called keratin. Thus, increasing your protein intake is a damn good idea.
For vegans this can be a challenge (but not for vegetarians, who can consume eggs, milk etc.) My suggestion is to use supplementation (protein powder, bars etc.) while also ensuring your Vitamin B12 levels are high.
For those who can eat meat, be careful not to let your mercury levels get too high. High consumption of sushi and canned tuna can have an impact on hair loss, so cycle your meat sources weekly or monthly if possible.
The next step is to ensure that you’re not overdosing on Vitamin A, which has also known to cause hair loss. You should especially stay away from standalone Vit. A supplements (unless you’ve been directed to do so by your doctor for whatever reason), and instead opt for a multivitamin that doesn’t contain more than 100% of your DV (daily value).
You know those white markings that sometimes appear on your nails? Well for generations, we believed it was due to a lack of calcium. As it turns out, those markings are more likely a sign of low zinc levels. You can take supplements, but a better option is red or organ meats which also happen to be high in iron – and this combination helps form keratin, keeping your hair and nails strong.
4 – A Glossy, Bright Red Tongue
This one sounds a bit contradictory since we’re all ingrained to believe that a vibrant, bright pink tongue is a sign of good health. But take notice if yours is looking more red than pink, and a bit too smooth. It could mean that you’re deficient in Vitamin B12 and iron.
Vegetarians and vegans should especially take care, and keep an eye on their tongue. If hot or cold drinks are bothering the surface of your tongue more than usual, then it’s a pretty clear sign that you need to talk to your doctor and increase your B12 levels. Do not screw around with this, as extensively low B12 levels have irreversible consequences to your mental health. As in, once the damage is done, you cannot go back.
This is also why it’s a good idea to not become overly attached or “romantic” towards mainstream methodologies of eating such as vegan, vegetarian, paleo, raw etc. Eat everything in moderation, and have a purpose for it. You’ll be better off.
5 – Indigestion/Constipation
Do you find yourself on the pooper more than the average person?
Or maybe you happen to shit bricks that need about 17 flushes to disappear.
Either way, it’s time you stopped wasting all that water and putting a strain on the city sewage system!
“How?” you may ask. By adding some good ol’ fashioned fiber into your diet, of course! Oatmeal, whole wheat cereals, brown rice, grains, legumes… hell even supplements such as Metamucil can help. Dietary fiber is important for so many reasons but for today, let’s focus on two of the most important and practical ones:
i) Slows down absorption of nutrients. You may be wondering why this is a good thing. Let me explain: when foods are absorbed and digested too quickly, we usually end up eating more calories throughout the day. And too many calories means fat loss comes to a halt. Anyone that’s eaten Chinese food, only to feel hungry about an hour later knows exactly what I’m talking about. So instead, add a healthy amount of dietary fiber into your meals. You’ll not only feel fuller for longer, but you won’t have to change the portion size of your meal. This is a huge benefit for those who are looking to drop the last five pounds but are stuck.
ii) Acts as a “broom” to move things along. Because dietary fiber cannot be absorbed by your body, you can literally count it as ’empty’ calories. For example, let’s say you ate a massive bowl of cereal and took in 100g of carbs (this is a lot in one sitting). Now let’s say that 20% of it was fiber. This means that the actual amount of carbs your body absorbed was only 80g. The rest got passed through your intestines where it scraped up other junk along the way, and got pooped out.
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