You have muscle twitches in your legs
If you spend the majority of the day sitting at a computer or in front of a TV, you may not think twice about the occasional muscle twitch or cramp in the leg. However, the medical director at the Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, Adonis Maiquez, MD, warns frequent spasms in your muscles can indicate low magnesium levels. Over time, it can pose health issues. “It carries a risk of cardiac arrhythmias [abnormal heartbeats],” he adds. To help alleviate the random flinch, Dr. Adonis (he’s known by his first name) recommends increasing your consumption of magnesium-rich foods like almonds, pumpkin seeds, and bananas. Or, if your doctor suggests you require an even higher amount of this essential vitamin, consider a supplement.
Your hands and feet tingle
The occasional buzz or goosebumps episode is fine, but if your hands and your feet tingle regularly, says Dr. Adonis, you might have a vitamin B12 deficiency. Left untreated, this lack of an essential nutrient can lead to anemia. To ensure you’re well balanced, consume foods like eggs, meat, and dairy. (Only animal products typically contain vitamin B12.) If you lead a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, a B12 supplement can help with adequate intake.
Your skin is super dry
Dry skin is especially a concern during cold weather. And although dry skin is much more likely to be weather-related, you should still always keep an eye on hot spots: According to Janet Prystowsky, MD, those itchy flaky spots could be a clue that your low-fat diet is behind a fatty-acid deficiency. In addition to adding a daily moisturizer that’s compatible with your skin type, she recommends adding more good-for-your-fats to your daily menu. These could be avocados, walnuts, olives, and more healthy fats.
You’re breaking out
Though acne is largely a genetic and/or hormonal condition, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, there are several factors that could be enticing an unfortunate zit (or five) to erupt more frequently. “Stress may trigger a flare up,” he says. “It has been well-documented that stress in the workplace or in school during testing periods is associated with worsening of acne,” he says. “When you sleep, cortisol levels naturally go down.” Other culprits could be consuming too many sugary and starchy foods, which lead to high blood sugar levels, encouraging inflammation. Dr. Zeichner adds cow’s milk, with a big emphasis on skim milk, is also associated with flare-ups, too.
You’re always tired in the afternoon
After sitting through more than a handful of meetings you didn’t actually need to attend, you might find yourself counting down the minutes until it’s time for a snack or coffee break. But if you consistently feel like an afternoon pick-me-up, says Tania Dempsey, MD, you might be reaching for the wrong foods at lunch time, causing you to lose your stamina long before you head home for dinner. She explains that carbohydrate-rich foods, like pizza, sandwiches, or other bread-based meals, can cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash a few hours later. “Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, can cause the sleepiness and fatigue that people get in the afternoon without them realizing why they feel that way,” she says. To save you from searching out something sweet or caffeinated, Dr. Dempsey says to focus on mid-day meals that are balanced with protein, fat, and fiber-rich vegetables to maintain your blood sugar levels.