Traditional American diets exceed the calorie limits for solid and saturated fats. Additionally, they consume too many added sugars, refined grains, and sodium.
But, they eat less than the recommended vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, and dairy.
Eating too much or too little of these food groups creates a nutritional imbalance. This can affect our mental health and interfere with the body’s processes.
Keep reading to learn all about nutritional imbalance, how to recognize it, and how to prevent it.
What is Nutritional Imbalance?
Nutritional imbalance can take different forms. Malnutrition occurs when the body doesn’t get enough nutrients. Overnutrition is when the intake of nutrients exceeds the recommended requirements.
Both forms of imbalance can be from a poor diet, or the body’s inability to absorb certain nutrients.
Women, infants, children, adolescents, are most likely not to get enough nutrients. Additionally, elderly and low-income individuals. Overweight and obese individuals are at risk for nutritional imbalance from excess nutrients.
Nutritional imbalance symptoms include fatigue, weakness, and diarrhea or constipation.
Imbalance may cause a slow down the immune system. Mentally, irritability, or an increase in anxiety and depression is common. Unfortunately, these symptoms are only the beginning.
There are plenty of chronic health conditions and diseases caused by nutritional imbalance.
Common nutritional imbalance diseases include protein-energy malnutrition (PEM), rickets, scurvy, beriberi, and anemia. These diseases result when the body is lacking in a particular nutrient or vitamin.
We are more at risk of becoming overweight and obese when we consume calories in excess.
Being overweight and obese are risk factors for several chronic health conditions. These individuals are more likely to develop high blood pressure and high cholesterol. They’re more vulnerable to diabetes, heart disease, and various forms of cancer.
Additionally, being overweight can lower the quality of life.
It can cause breathing problems that interfere with sleep. It increases risk of injury or joint pain that can limit mobility. It can increase feelings of depression and anxiety.
Recognizing Nutritional Imbalance
Certain symptoms or health conditions may show nutritional imbalance. Yet, you can also seek a nutritional assessment. A dietician or other healthcare specialist can provide one.
There is even an at home test available. It completes a body scan to identify nutritional imbalances.
Preventing Nutritional Imbalance
The easiest way to avoid nutritional imbalance is to practice a healthy diet.
There are plenty of guidelines that can teach you how to eat well, such as the Healthy Eating Plate.
This visual aid helps create balanced meals. Half your plate should be fruits and vegetables. The other half should split into a quarter for whole grains and a quarter for protein.
It’s important to stay hydrated and limit oils, unhealthy fat, and added sugar.
Nutritional imbalance can be harmful to our physical and mental well-being. It’s important to recognize the symptoms and engage in preventative measures. It may be helpful to get information from a trained health specialist.
Learning about what your body needs is the key to a balanced diet.