Signs your diet stinks

Subtle indicators your body may be providing that tell you to eat better

Published On: Jan 24 2014 06:40:00 AM EST

You might be able to tell if your diet needs improvement without looking at your plate. Your body may be giving off subtle signs that you are not a healthy eater. Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic, says your "bad hair days" may not only be weather-related.

"Individuals that are either on starvation-type diets or diets that restrict protein significantly often have very dry hair. So, if your hair is dry the first thing I would look at is how much protein are you getting in the diet and how can you get more," she explained.

Kirkpatrick says premature aging is another sign your diet may not be up to snuff. Studies have shown diets rich in vitamins A and C may help to keep your skin looking younger. Bad nutritional habits may also compromise your immune system.

So, if you're constantly catching colds or being flattened by the flu, try adding foods full of vitamins, minerals, iron, and folic acid. And if you keep suffering from "brain drain", Kirkpatrick says you may need more omega-3 fatty acids.

"We know that fats, especially healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, actually help to increase cognitive function, help us to think better and help our brain just thrive," she explained.

Kirkpatrick says if you feel tired all of the time, you may need more lean protein and vitamin c in your diet. The protein can help stabilize blood sugars, while the vitamin C may lower oxidative stress.