It's often said that your health is your wealth, and while it is a statement that most of us brush off as a cliché, it rings all too true when we fall ill. Even if it's something as simple as a blocked nose, all we want to do is to return to our previously healthy selves. However, as is the case with so many things in life, there's no smoke without fire, and in a lot of cases, minor ailments can point to a much bigger problem with your diet.
Admittedly, not every ache and pain is a sign of a problem, but more often than not, they are your body's way of telling you that something is wrong, and that we should take action before it gets nastier. When I was a kid, my mom encouraged me to eat healthy by telling me that my body was like a car, and if I didn't fill it with the right fuel, I'd know about it - and a lack of food, a bad diet, and not getting enough nutrients can all wreak havoc on our health.
To discover what your poop can say about your diet, check out the video below:
So what exactly can these ailments do to our health? Well, here are 10 tell-tale signs that all is not well in your tummy box. While some are more bothersome than others, I think that we can all agree that making a small change to our diet - even if it's as simple as reducing the amount of soda we are drinking - is a sacrifice worth making for better health (horrifyingly, the caramel coloring in soda has been linked to cancer).
1. Poor oral hygiene
When most of us think of people with bad breath, we automatically assume that they've been indulging in foods that are a little too pungent (I'm looking at you garlic!), but a lesser known fact is that bad breath can be an indication of a poor diet. In addition to this, even if you have immaculate dental hygiene which prevents a problem like this from occurring, if your gums are bleeding after you've brushed and flossed, it's a bad sign. You've also got a problem if your gums are puffy because it's a sign of a vitamin C deficiency, but we all know how to cure that!
2. Bloating and indigestion
Nine times out of ten, if you're having tummy troubles, it's because of your diet. This could be reflected by feeling bloated or you taking one too many trips to empty your bowels. The usual treatment for this problem is making sure that you're eating enough fiber as it helps your body to absorb nutrients and regulates your digestive system. This can be as simple as adding rice, oats, vegetables, or seeds to your meals.
3. Constantly falling sick
Do you suffer from multiple bouts of the flu every year? Well, you could have a weakened immune system. Biologically, we need to consume the right amount of nutrients to fight off infections - in particular, vitamins C, A, E, zinc, selenium, and iron. We also need to have an ample amount of folic acid, which is found in green and yellow bananas. Basically, eat more vegetables, whole grains, and anti-oxidant rich foods.
4. Acid reflux and heartburn
Okay, so while heartburn isn't always caused by a poor diet, and can be resolved by losing weight and getting an ample amount of sleep, it can also be caused by foods like chocolate, citrus fruits, and even certain vegetables. However, if you're suffering from heartburn, you don't have to cut these foods out. Surprisingly, it's recommended that you cut down on your consumption of alcohol and coffee which have been scientifically proven to weaken the ring of muscles that stop stomach acid from going back into your esophagus. Drinking more water also helps too.
5. Thinning hair
It's a nightmare situation for both genders, and while it's largely unavoidable once men reach a certain age, if your hair is thinning, it could be a sign that you need to change your diet. Like every other part of the human body, it relies on vitamins and nutrients to stay healthy. When you've not got enough iron in your system, there's less oxygen in your bloodstream and this results in hair loss and fatigue. Thankfully, this is a problem which can be resolved if you consume enough protein, fatty acids, and vitamins like C, zinc, and iron.
6. Premature aging
As much as we'd all like to stay young forever, aging is an inevitable part of life. However, if you've noticed that you're suddenly starting to look a lot older, it could be the result of your diet. This is because vitamins like A, C, D, and E combined with antioxidants keep skin youthful, as does getting your five-a-day. Poor diet can also be responsible for acne flare-ups - namely, the excessive consumption of dairy and sugar-rich foods.
7. Foggy brain
Another inevitable ailment that we all get from time to time is foggy brain, however, if you find yourself having one too many off days, then it could be a sign of a bigger problem. If your brain isn't getting what it needs nutritionally, it will have a knock-on effect on your memory and concentration. To combat this, make sure you're getting enough Omega-3 fatty acids which are good for the brain.
8. Slow-healing wounds
Have you ever had a cut or a bruise that's taken an abnormally long time to heal? Then your diet could be to blame. Our bodies want us to be fit and healthy, but this can't happen if we aren't getting enough vitamins and nutrients to make it happen. Aside from the inevitable annoyance of small wounds taking longer to heal, this can also put you at a higher risk of developing a serious infection from something minor. Increasing the amount that you're eating, as well as ensuring that your diet is rich in protein and fresh fruit will help to combat this problem.
9. Chronic fatigue
Like most adults who work full time, I can't get enough sleep. However, if you're constantly feeling sluggish even after you've had more than enough time in the sack, then your diet is most likely to blame - especially if it's carb and protein heavy. It can also be caused by excessive sugar consumption which causes a "crash" when your blood sugar levels drop. A good way to combat this is making sure you're not snacking on the wrong foods by having a serving of fruit and vegetables between meals. It might not be as tasty as chocolate, but your tummy will thank you for it.
There are few things worse than a headache. They make it almost impossible to enjoy anything - it's no wonder that people dread hangovers so much. But if it's a problem that you're suffering from regularly, your diet could be to blame as takeouts and frozen meals are contributing factors. They're full of sodium and headache-inducing chemicals. Dehydration is also a common culprit, which is why it's so important to make sure that you're regularly drinking water and eating fruit. No one wants to experience hangover symptoms without even drinking alcohol!
So there you have it - 10 signs that your diet needs to change. While we'd all like to live in a world where we could eat whatever we want without consequence, that's never going to be the case (unless, I guess, technology develops to the point where you can transfer your brain into a robot or something like that). Although it's tempting to overindulge when you're feeling good, it's important to remember that feeling won't last forever if you eat one pizza too many!