Everyone knows that nutrients contribute to and support the right functioning of the six senses, which are hearing, taste, smell, sight, touch and proprioception which is the ability of a person to discern where their body is in space. The following are some of the foods that help the six senses function the way they should:
For the Eyes
Vitamin A has long been known to support the health of the eyes. Deficiencies can result in night blindness, cataracts and blurred vision. The trouble with vitamin A is that the body can’t really process it. It needs to be taken as a substance called beta carotene before the body converts it into vitamin A. Fortunately, there are lots of plant foods rich in beta carotene. They include most of the fruits and plants that have red, orange or yellow pigments such as sweet peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Cantaloupe is also rich in beta carotene as are green, leafy vegetables such as beet greens and spinach. One type of animal protein that can provide vitamin A is fresh, cooked tuna.
Another nutrient that supports the health of the eyes is zinc, a mineral that is necessary for the immune system and normal growth. Zinc deficiencies can lead to visual impairments. Foods rich in zinc are steamed oysters, beef, including rib eye steak and blade roast and toasted wheat germ.
Good levels of vitamin E also protect against amblyopia, an eye condition that affects children, cataracts, eye strain. Good levels of vitamin E help prevent nearsightedness in middle aged people. Foods rich in vitamin E include vegetable oils, soybeans, peanuts, whole grains, spinach and wheat germ.
A vitamin D deficiency may also contribute to nearsightedness. Fortunately, this vitamin is one of the few that the body can manufacture. A person should spend about 15 minutes a day in the sun which allows the body to synthesize the vitamin. Other sources of vitamin D are fortified milk and breakfast cereals.
Nutritionists still aren’t sure what manganese does in the body, but a person who is deficient in this mineral may be plagued by tinnitus, or ringing in the ear. If the deficiency goes on long enough, it can result in deafness in both babies and adults that might need to be corrected by cic hearing aids. Sources of manganese include whole grains; egg yolks; green, leafy vegetables such as kale; shellfish such as shrimp, clams and oysters; nuts; organ meats such as liver and milk.
A vitamin D deficiency can lead to numbness and tingling in the extremities. These symptoms can be joined by muscle spasms. Taken together, they are the symptoms of a condition called tetany. A person who is lacking in vitamin B12 may experience numbness, shooting pains or needles-and-pins or hot-and-cold sensations over their skin. Sources of vitamin B12 include organ meats such as liver and kidney, muscle meats such as steak, fish and dairy products.
One of the symptoms of a deficiency of potassium is weakness and impairment of neuromuscular function which can affect a person’s proprioception. The person’s reflexes are dulled and their muscles eventually grow soft and flabby. A deficiency in manganese can lead to ataxia, which is a lack of muscular coordination. Severe deficiencies of manganese can lead to paralysis.
For Smell and Taste
These two senses work together, and a zinc deficiency can impair both of them. The loss of taste and smell sensitivity that comes with a zinc deficiency can kill a person’s appetite and lead to malnutrition. Folic acid also supports the sense of taste, or at least the ability to eat. Deficiencies in this B vitamin can result in a swollen and inflamed tongue. Foods rich in folic acid are liver, green leafy vegetables and brewer’s yeast.
The good news about the nutrients that support the six senses is that they are easy to obtain, at least in western countries. A well-balanced diet should stave off the deficiencies that lead to problems with hearing, smell, taste, touch, sight and proprioception.