Doctors recommend having a yearly physical to make sure that your body is in good working order. Basic tests can reveal vitamin deficiencies or other problem areas.
Even without visiting a doctor, you can keep tabs on your health by staying in tune with your body. There are various signs your body will give you when you have too much or not enough of certain substances. Here are four ways to identify vitamin deficiencies with a thorough look in the mirror.
1. Pale Lips
Take a peek at your lips and see if they are normal-colored or pale. When your lips lack color, it can mean that you need more iron in your diet.
Iron is essential for a properly functioning immune system. Other symptoms of low iron levels include brittle nails, extreme fatigue, and soreness of your tongue.
Luckily, iron is easy to obtain through a varied diet. The mineral is common in egg yolks, most meat, broccoli, raisins, and potato skins. Cereal is frequently fortified with iron as well, which makes it easy to eat if you’re trying to.
2. Pale Skin
If your face is pallid, it could mean a number of things. One of the most common reasons for a lack of color in the face is not enough B12 in your diet.
Other symptoms of low B12 include fatigue or dizziness, problems with vision, or having an unusually smooth tongue (about 50 percent of people with a B12 deficiency lost the papillae on the edges of their tongues). If you have more than one of these symptoms, you should consider increasing your B12 intake.
Beef liver packs more B12 than any other food, but all red meat has a good dose of the vitamin. Milk, mackerel, and sardines are good sources, and some cereals and soy products are fortified with B12.
3. Puffy Eyes
We all have puffy eyes occasionally–sometimes due to lack of sleep or fatigue in general. If you see them in the mirror on a regular basis, it could mean you’re not getting enough iodine.
An iodine deficiency is serious and must be addressed. Because the body cannot make its own iodine, you have to get enough through your diet or you could have serious thyroid problems.
Vegetables that come from the sea (like kelp and other seaweed) have large amounts of iodine due to their growing in salt water. Cranberries, yogurt, navy beans, and strawberries are also good sources for the mineral.
4. Bleeding Gums
If your gums bleed when you floss, it probably just means you don’t floss enough. If they’re bleeding at other times, you may have a Vitamin C deficiency.
Other signs that point to low levels of Vitamin C are fatigue, easy bruising, wounds that heal slowly, and nosebleeds. You’ll also likely have a weaker immune system.
Luckily, Vitamin C is easy to obtain in most places. Most fruits and vegetables have some amount of the vitamin. The fruits and veggies that pack the highest dose of Vitamin C are guava, black currants, and red peppers.
Remember, you are the person who is most responsible for your health. You can help your doctor help you by keeping close tabs on changes in symptoms or any unusual changes in your body. By identifying signs early, you can head off trouble before it hurts you.