A Functional Nutrition Coach’s Guide to Nourishing Your Body with Real Whole Foods


Welcome, health enthusiasts, to a transformative journey of self-discovery and optimal well-being.

As a functional nutrition coach, I’ve witnessed the profound impact of nutrient-rich whole foods on our bodies.

In this blog post, we will explore the signs and symptoms of the seven most common nutrient deficiencies, the consequences of neglecting them, and, most importantly, how to restore balance through the power of natural nutrition.

Prepare to be empowered with knowledge and inspired to embark on a nourishing culinary adventure.

Let’s dive in!

Achieving Optimal Nutrient Balance:

When our bodies receive all the necessary nutrients in proper balance, remarkable transformations occur.

Let’s explore the benefits of meeting our nutrient requirements:

1). Enhanced Energy and Vitality:

A well-nourished body experiences increased energy levels, allowing us to tackle daily tasks with vigor and enthusiasm. We feel more vibrant, alert, and ready to seize the day.

2). Strong Immune System:

Adequate intake of vitamins and minerals strengthens our immune defenses, reducing the likelihood of falling ill. Our bodies become resilient, better equipped to fight off infections and promote faster healing.

3). Healthy Brain Function:

Proper nutrition fuels our brains, enhancing cognitive abilities such as memory, concentration, and focus. Clarity of thought and improved mental performance become noticeable, enabling us to excel in various aspects of life.

4). Balanced Mood and Emotional Well-being:

Optimal nutrient balance supports the production of neurotransmitters that regulate mood and emotions. By nourishing our bodies, we experience greater emotional stability, reduced stress levels, and an overall sense of well-being.

5). Strong Bones and Muscles:

Adequate intake of calcium, vitamin D, and other vital nutrients promotes optimal bone density and strength. Our muscles receive the necessary nutrients for growth, repair, and functionality, supporting mobility and physical performance.

6). Radiant Skin, Hair, and Nails:

Proper nutrition nourishes our largest organ, the skin, leaving it glowing and healthy. Hair becomes lustrous, and nails grow strong and resilient, reflecting our inner vitality

7). Efficient Digestion and Metabolism:

When our bodies receive the right balance of nutrients, digestion becomes efficient, ensuring the absorption and utilization of essential components. Metabolic processes are optimized, supporting weight management and overall metabolic health.

By prioritizing a nutrient-rich diet composed of real whole foods, we can unlock the full potential of our bodies and enjoy a vibrant, balanced, and thriving life.

Now let’s focus on the 7 most common nutritional deficiencies and what you can do to flourish.

1). Iron Deficiency:

Iron is an essential mineral that plays a critical role in oxygen transport, energy production, and immune function. It is necessary for the formation of red blood cells and the prevention of anemia.

Iron deficiency is one of the most prevalent nutrient deficiencies worldwide and can have significant consequences for our overall health and vitality.

Signs and symptoms of iron deficiency include persistent fatigue, pale skin, brittle nails, and frequent headaches.

If left unattended, iron deficiency can lead to anemia, cognitive impairment, and a compromised immune system.

To restore balance, we turn to iron-rich whole foods. Incorporate dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard into your diet. These greens are not only rich in iron but also provide other essential nutrients such as folate and vitamin C, which enhance iron absorption.

Pair them with vitamin C-rich foods like citrus fruits or bell peppers to further maximize iron absorption.

Additionally, include lean red meat, liver, tofu, quinoa, and pumpkin seeds in your meals to boost iron levels naturally.

Recipe: Spinach and Chickpea Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

2 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 cup cooked chickpeas
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons tahini
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


1). In a large bowl, combine spinach and chickpeas.
2). In a separate bowl, whisk together lemon juice, tahini, minced garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper until well combined.
3). Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to coat.
4). Serve and enjoy this iron-packed salad

2). Vitamin D Deficiency:

Known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is responsible for regulating calcium absorption, promoting bone health, supporting the immune system, and influencing mood and mental well-being.

Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent, especially in regions with limited sunlight exposure.

Common signs and symptoms include bone pain, muscle weakness, frequent infections, and low mood.

Untreated vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, and autoimmune disorders.

To restore balance, we need to harness the power of sunlight and incorporate vitamin D-rich foods into our diet.

Spending time outdoors in the sun, especially during midday when the sun’s rays are strongest, can help our bodies synthesize vitamin D. However, it’s essential to practice sun safety and wear sunscreen.

In addition to sunlight, include vitamin D-rich foods in your meals. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are excellent sources of vitamin D.

Incorporate these fish into your weekly menu to boost your vitamin D levels. If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, consider fortified plant-based milk and cereals, fortified tofu, and mushrooms exposed to sunlight as alternative sources of vitamin D.

Recipe: Grilled Salmon with Roasted Vegetables

2 wild-caught salmon fillets
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Assorted vegetables (e.g., bell peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes)


1). Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
2). In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
3). Brush the marinade over the salmon fillets.
4). Thread the vegetables onto skewers and brush them with the marinade.
5). Grill the salmon and vegetables for about 4-6 minutes per side or until cooked through.
6). Serve the grilled salmon alongside the roasted vegetables.

3). Vitamin B12 Deficiency:

This vitamin is crucial for nerve function, DNA synthesis, red blood cell production, and brain health. It is primarily found in animal-based foods and is essential for those following vegetarian or vegan diets to supplement or includes fortified foods.

Deficiency in this vitamin can lead to fatigue, numbness or tingling in extremities, memory problems, and mood swings.

Untreated vitamin B12 deficiency can cause nerve damage, anemia, and neurological disorders.

To restore balance, incorporate vitamin B12-rich foods into your diet.

Animal proteins such as beef, chicken, and fish like salmon and trout are excellent sources of vitamin B12.

Recipe: Grilled Chicken with Balsamic Glaze


2 chicken breasts
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
1 clove of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste


1). Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
2). In a small saucepan, combine balsamic vinegar, honey or maple syrup, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
3). Cook the sauce over medium heat until it thickens, stirring occasionally.
4). Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then grill for 6-8 minutes per side or until cooked through.
5). Brush the balsamic glaze onto the chicken during the last few minutes of grilling.
6). Serve the grilled chicken with steamed vegetables or a side salad.

4). Magnesium Deficiency:

Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including muscle and nerve function, energy production, and maintenance of bone health. It also plays a role in regulating blood pressure and supporting a healthy immune system.

Signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency include muscle cramps and spasms, insomnia, anxiety, and irregular heartbeat.

Prolonged deficiency may contribute to cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and chronic migraines.

To restore balance, it’s important to incorporate magnesium-rich foods into your diet. Dark leafy greens such as spinach and Swiss chard are excellent sources of magnesium.

Other options include nuts and seeds like almonds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds.

Incorporate whole grains like quinoa and brown rice, as well as legumes like black beans and lentils, to boost your magnesium intake naturally.

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Banana Smoothie


1 ripe banana
1 cup spinach
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 cup almond milk (or any clean-label plant-based milk)
Ice cubes (optional)


1). Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
2). If desired, add ice cubes and blend again until well combined.
3). Pour into a glass and enjoy this delicious and magnesium-rich smoothie.

5). Omega-3 Fatty Acid Deficiency:

These essential fats are vital for brain health, heart health, and reducing inflammation in the body. They are known to support cognitive function, promote healthy skin, and contribute to cardiovascular well-being. Omega-3 fatty acids are mainly found in fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.

Signs and symptoms of omega-3 deficiency include dry skin and hair, joint pain, difficulty concentrating, and increased feelings of sadness or anxiety.

Untreated deficiency is associated with inflammation, cognitive decline, and mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

To restore balance, incorporate omega-3-rich foods into your diet.

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are excellent sources of these beneficial fats. If you follow a plant-based diet, include flaxseeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds, which are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid. Walnuts are another great source of omega-3s.

Recipe: Walnut-Crusted Baked Salmon


2 salmon fillets
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste


1). Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2). In a small bowl, combine chopped walnuts, Dijon mustard, honey or maple syrup, salt, and pepper.
3). Place the salmon fillets on the prepared baking sheet and spread the walnut mixture evenly on top of each fillet.
4). Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through and the walnut crust is golden and crispy.
5). Serve the walnut-crusted salmon with steamed broccoli and a side salad.

6). Calcium Deficiency:

Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth, as well as proper muscle and nerve function. It also plays a role in blood clotting and maintaining a regular heartbeat.

Signs and symptoms of calcium deficiency include weak and brittle nails, tooth decay and gum disease, muscle cramps, and easy fracturing of bones.

Inadequate calcium levels can contribute to osteoporosis, tooth loss, and impaired muscle function.

To restore balance, it’s important to incorporate calcium-rich foods into your diet. While dairy products are a common source of calcium, there are also plant-based options available. Include fortified plant-based milk, tofu, sardines with bones, almonds, and dark leafy greens such as kale and collard greens in your meals to boost your calcium intake naturally.

Recipe: Creamy Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast


2 chicken breasts
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


1). Preheat the oven to 375°F and lightly grease a baking dish.
2). In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for a minute until fragrant.
3). Add the chopped spinach to the skillet and cook until wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool.
4). Cut a horizontal slit in each chicken breast to create a pocket.
5). Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then stuff each pocket with the cooked spinach and crumbled feta cheese.
6). Place the stuffed chicken breasts in the prepared baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
7). Serve the spinach and feta stuffed chicken breasts with a side of steamed vegetables or a salad for a calcium-rich and satisfying meal.

7). Vitamin C Deficiency

This powerful antioxidant vitamin is essential for immune function, collagen synthesis, wound healing, and protection against oxidative stress. It supports healthy skin, boosts iron absorption, and contributes to overall well-being. Citrus fruits, berries, peppers, and leafy greens are excellent sources of vitamin C.

Signs and symptoms of vitamin C deficiency include frequent infections and slow wound healing, dry and splitting hair, bleeding gums, and fatigue and irritability.

Prolonged deficiency can lead to scurvy, a condition characterized by weakened immunity, impaired collagen production, and overall poor health.

To restore balance, it’s important to incorporate vitamin C-rich foods into your diet. Enjoy a refreshing and vibrant Tropical Fruit Salad, as fruits like oranges, strawberries, and kiwi are excellent sources of vitamin C. These fruits not only provide a burst of flavor but also offer a wide range of other beneficial nutrients. Additionally, include vitamin C-rich vegetables such as bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, and leafy greens in your meals.

Recipe: Citrus Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing


2 oranges, peeled and segmented
1 grapefruit, peeled and segmented
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
Fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)


1). In a bowl, combine the orange and grapefruit segments.
2). In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lime juice and honey (or maple syrup) to create the dressing.
3). Drizzle the dressing over the citrus segments and gently toss to coat.
4). Allow the flavors to meld together for a few minutes.
5). Serve the citrus salad chilled, garnished with fresh mint leaves if desired. Enjoy the tangy and zesty flavors while nourishing your body with a vitamin C boost.


By recognizing the signs of common nutrient deficiencies and incorporating nutrient-rich recipes into our daily lives, we can restore balance and experience the transformative power of optimal nutrition.

Nourishing our bodies with real whole foods not only addresses deficiencies but also promotes overall health and well-being.

Remember, each nutrient plays a vital role in supporting various bodily functions. Achieving a balance of these nutrients through a diverse and balanced diet is key.

Embrace the remarkable ability of real whole foods to fuel and nourish your body, allowing you to thrive in all aspects of life.

As a functional nutrition coach, I encourage you to embark on this culinary adventure, exploring the vast array of nutrient-rich ingredients and creating delicious and satisfying meals that support your health goals.

Let food be your ally, empowering you to live your best, most vibrant life.

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