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An Intimate Conversation With David Banner On The State Of Black Love & Marriage

David Banner is not worried about being politically correct, and when he speaks, he does so with conviction. He’s something like a preacher..

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David Banner is not worried about being politically correct, and when he speaks, he does so with conviction.

He's something like a preacher who knows that you'll leave his sermon sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost—except Banner isn't focused on saving souls, he's interested in saving your mind from the constraints that society has placed upon us as Black women, Black men, and the Black race as a whole.


The David Banner that I spoke with on a Friday afternoon isn't much different than the Banner that I was introduced to years ago when his first hit single “Like A Pimp" hit the airwaves, and later the more thought-provoking “Cadillac on 22s." He's still unapologetically blunt, still speaking his mind, and still delivering messages that reflect all aspects of life—from sex and relationships to spirituality and racial disparity.

But he's definitely an evolved man. After all, if you're not growing, you're dying—and Banner is letting us know through glimpses into the next chapter of his life that his mission isn't fulfilled until his last exhale.

His latest single, “Marry Me," has been greeted with open arms by those tired of the same old “f-ck love" narrative of broken relationships, promiscuity, and empty intimacy that a seemingly loveless generation has brought to the forefront. It dispels the myth that Black men and marriage are mutually exclusive, and shifts the conversation from one of hopelessness and despair to one of progression and possibilities.

“This song is for [all] Black women, but it's especially for the dark-skinned black women," says Banner. “If you look at our culture, our women don't feel protected. They don't feel wanted. You look at most of who so-called people of success cater to—nine times out of 10 it may not be a Black woman at all. And if it is, it's definitely not ones that look like our cousins or our great-grandmothers. And I said man, if nobody in the world says that they love them and that they respect them and that they want them, it'll be me."

While the song may be geared towards women, there's a lesson in it for everybody in that in order to change our families and our communities we have to change the stories that we're telling, and change how we treat and speak to one another.

To get more insight into how David Banner is using his platform to shift the culture, we sat down with the Mississippi artist to discuss the idea of marriage and relationships in the Black community, rebranding himself as not just another artist contributing to the problem, and how he plans to be a part of the solution.

I listened to your “Marry Me" track when it first dropped and I really loved it. I was just talking to somebody about how we don't really have that kind of music that celebrates love and relationships like back in the day when we had The Isley Brothers, and when men and women were actually celebrating love and marriage. So how did the track come about, what made you want to do a song about marriage?

There were a couple things. One of the things that happened was 9th Wonder was actually producing, and the reason why I made the song because he asked me a question. He said that most of the rappers that really pushed the culture forward--and who are making a whole lot of money--are over the age of 35. But have you ever noticed they never talk about men's subjects?

One of the reasons why I let my beard grow out is because I wanted young men to see a successful Black man grow one. I wanted them to see the wisdom. Another thing is that this song is for Black women, but it's especially for dark-skinned black women.

"If you look at our culture, our women don't feel protected. They don't feel wanted."

You look at most of who so-called people of success cater to—nine times out of 10 it may not be a Black woman at all. And if it is, it's definitely not ones that look like our great grandmothers. And I said man, if nobody in the world says that they love them and that they respect them and that they want them, it'll be me.

And lastly, and the most important thing about this song, one of my friends told me, “David Banner, I know you want to save the world, I know you want to help Black people and the revolution and all of that, but in order for you to do any of those things, you have to mend the relationships with our families—with our women." He told me until I build the family back together, none of this will work. He said in slavery, our families were ripped apart and we never healed them. We always blame it on Black on Black, but before we were ever so-called “set free," we never mended our relationships with our family and with our women.

[Related Post: David Banner's New Track "Marry Me" Is Giving Us All the Feels]

That's actually a good point. I see a lot of people who are hurt and responding from places of pain, and we're not really getting to the root of the problem. We're so busy pointing fingers at the opposite sex. It's not only about healing the family, but healing ourselves personally.

There's no way that a man can raise a female child by himself and expect for her to be mentally functional. Just because a woman can raise a man that is successful in the United States doesn't mean that you properly raised a man. This is my personal opinion. We cannot make a proper child--a proper relationship--without a union of God, woman, and man. And what's sad about it is, they have degraded the role of a woman so much. We need balance, and that doesn't mean that the man is more important than woman or the woman more important than man, but we need both roles to properly raise anything.

It is very important for me to say that I've done enough degrading of our women myself. So, in no way is this downgrading any other rappers or saying what any other black man should do, this is for me. I have some making up to do. I have forgotten myself. With “Play," even though I really enjoyed it and I don't think there is anything wrong with that [song] in its proper place, there is no balance.

For "Marry Me" to even be looked at as the type of song that it is shows the problem—the fact that it's so special. "Marry Me" shouldn't be special. There should be a million songs like that. And the fact that it is so special and that women are crying all over the world because of this record, shows that it's a problem, and shows that there is no balance.

And honestly love, that is the reason why I made "Marry Me." And it's so funny, all of these people sit back and criticize men and rap music and all of this different stuff, now you have it, now you have the "Marry Me" song, now you have the strong black man who don't take no shit singing the type of songs that you were talking about, but let's see if we're going to get that story. Let's see if you're going talk about that as bad as you talk about black men.

"As bad as you criticize black men, are you now going to hold the ones up who are doing what you say we don't do?"

Are we going to go as hard for "Marry Me" the song as we do when we criticize black men and women in general? People always talk about what black men are not doing, but when we do it, it's just like, we even had somebody to say is it even going to even matter? These are the types of things that we're going to have to analyze.

You've talked on a variety of topics in your songs over the years, including love and relationships, but everyone likes to touch back to your song "Play." Can you speak to the process of your rebranding and what initiated that?

First of all, and people laugh when I tell them this, “Play" was actually a very powerful song, I just didn't articulate what I meant by it well enough. If you listen to “Play" it was a song where the man was telling the woman I want you to be happy. I want you to get yours, this is about you. What do you want me to do? Do you want me to touch you? This is strictly for you.

When [Mr.] Collipark gave me the concept of it, he was like Banner don't scream because you're so aggressive. He told me to say the stuff that women really want to hear. I have a song on my new album that's called “Cleopatra Jones," and it talks about a very conscious, smart woman who still loves to get her freak on, and there's nothing wrong with that. I had so many women that said they love “Play" but they don't listen to it [out]loud; it's sort of like a guilty pleasure.

I think part of it is in the Black community anything very sexual gets a lot of backlash from people.

And these are the same folks that'll be going to the bathroom at their jobs getting it on.

Right, and I think, when I heard “Play," I wasn't offended. I was younger so maybe that was part of it, but I'm looking at the lyrics now and you really don't degrade a woman in terms of calling them out their name or anything; it's really just more of a sexual song. Maybe if it was in the context of marriage it would've came off different, but even then…

That's not what I wanted to say. That's not the reality of where we live and what we're doing right now. We have to research. One of the other things that happened to American society in the late 1800's, they became enthralled with romance novels and we got into romanticism, and romanticism is not real. You're not going to meet Fabio. He's not going to be on top of the mountain and you're not going to be on the mountain climbing and bump into Fabio. That shit is not realistic. As a matter of fact, it's one of the reasons why we have so many divorces and have so many problems in relationships, it's because we're not real. We try to be romantic, and that's not real life.

I'm not saying that your man shouldn't be kind to you, that's not saying that your woman should not do things for you, but most of the stuff that we want from people, you never got that in real life anyway. And if you did get it, you got from some motherfucker who barely had money, don't work everyday or he a gigolo or that's what he do for a living is to run women, most men or women don't have time for that shit. And it doesn't exist.

One of your tweets a few months ago was that "if you want a man that respects the way you think then show more mind than ass," and a lot of people kind of went off about that. I find that, especially in this day and age, it's just really hard to get certain messages across. Do you think that's part of what's prohibiting positive and loving relationships amongst Black men and women?

That situation that you are talking about was one of the most confusing things that has ever happened to me in my life. The thing is, when a woman tells me about how a woman looks at a black man, I listen whether I agree or not. I'm telling you how a man thinks, and you're going to tell me something? That's like me commenting on pregnancy. I'm never going to comment, for the most part, on what a woman should do with her private parts or pregnancy, because I don't know anything about that! So, when I made that comment, I made that comment to heal and to help. If you don't agree with it then keep it moving.

[Related Post: David Banner: "Show A Man Your Mind More Than Your Ass If You Want Him To Respect You"]

The thing is, if we don't have real conversations with each other we're never going to heal. What's funny about it is, I actually learned about that from a scientific standpoint. If a man sees flesh and ass, he can't see anyway because his dick's hard. And when his dick gets hard, the blood rushes from his feet and from his head. So we can't walk and we can't see. Even from a scientific standpoint, when we see ass and titties we can't see!

"If we don't have real conversations with each other we're never going to heal."

We want stuff to make us feel good. And what happened that was good—guess who came to my rescue? Black women. When I went and read those threads, one Black woman shut the whole Internet down. She said, “oh what, now we're defending guyism?" And couldn't nobody say shit, and I was like 'go girl!' And, it hurt my feelings a little bit because I was like damn, I said it is amazing when I called you bitches and hoes, and I called you niggers and bitches, my career went perfect, but when I told you that you're gods and goddesses, I got more criticism than I've ever got in my life.

It's definitely good to hear a man speak on that because a lot of times that message gets lost and misconstrued. I can't personally speak on what a man is thinking, so it's good to either confirm or understand where that mentality is at.

And that's one thing that I would like to say to women as it pertains to that comment that there was such a big uproar about. I see this on Twitter all the time, I'll say something and three seconds after I say it people are commenting on it. You haven't even taken a minute to digest the thought. Have you ever noticed that when stuff happens to Black people in the community, it usually takes me about a week, for the most part, to speak on it. And people get mad at me, why hasn't David Banner spoken on this? Well, I haven't gotten all the facts first. I haven't meditated on it. Even if I don't agree with it, I haven't even tried to assess why this person thinks that way. Even if it's wrong, sometimes we have to figure out, ok, well there has to be something that, unless they're trying to socialize you or lie to you, there's a reason why this person thinks this way. Let me assess that.

What I learned as a man, and I think this is one of the things that helped me with my relationship with women in general, it that a lot of times as men we want to just be right. What I found out is when we love a person, and they are hurting, even if they are wrong, we being right doesn't matter. My dad and my mom—before my dad died—they started getting along really well. My mom had like a two-year patch in their marriage where it was really bad, then all of a sudden they started getting along. I went to my dad and I was like “what's going on, are y'all alright?! What's wrong, there's peace in this house!" and my dad said, “Look, if the decisions that your mom makes, if it doesn't hurt our underlying finance or it doesn't put the family in danger, she's right." He said at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter. If it doesn't affect the family, it's emotion; it doesn't matter.

Are you married?

No, I'm not married. I just want to be the man that most Black women want to marry. I want to be a Black man that stands strong. I'm not perfect, but [I want to be the man] women want to marry and that kids want to be their father. I want to be that man. [When I die] I want people to say that that's a strong African man, I am proud that he's a part of my culture.

So is it that you don't want to be married or it just hasn't happened for you yet?

Well this is what I believe, people pray so much for an angel, but then we're demons. I'm glad I didn't get married before. I couldn't have been the man that I'm going to be to whomever my wife will be, wherever she is.

"People always point their fingers at everybody, but we attract exactly who we are."

And no matter how good a woman could've been on the outside, I wasn't right on the inside. I barely am now, but I am moving into a situation where I can be a great father and a great husband. I understood the concept of [marriage], I knew what I wanted, but I wasn't that.

Another reason is that I've always been so driven. I am now getting to a point where my businesses can sustain themselves on their own. People don't know this, but I own a multimedia company called A Banner Vision. A friend of mine was talking yesterday about how there's so many positive things going on with black people but nobody wants to do stories about them. You know, about Chris Brown owning 30 Burger Kings, about what Nipsey Hustle is doing with his business, about me running a multimedia company. I did Gaterade for the World Cup. I did music for Pepsi two years ago for the NFL, except the Superbowl. I've scored video games and movies—Marvel vs. Capcom. I run successful businesses, and there is no way that I could've been a great father or a great husband with all of these things. I had to be selfish. Something had to be sacrificed. But, as much as I want to have kids, I just didn't have the time to do that properly.

You talk about silence a lot on your Instagram page. Can you speak to the importance of silence and how it helped you when you were building out the project for the God Box?

Silence has saved my whole entire life. It is in my belief that evil is just a bunch of noise and distractions, and silence is Godly. It's hard for us to even hear God because our spirit is bombarded with telephones and destructive information. We've got a million channels, the Internet, all this information, and if you look at any religion, if people wanted to get, for the most part, close to God, what are the three things they need? First of all they got somewhere silent. Then when they fasted, they got by themselves, they fasted, they prayed, and they shut the hell up. And they got still. And what's crazy is, one of my friends told me something. He said everybody always talk about Jesus, but you never do the stuff Jesus did. If you fasted for 40 days and 40 nights you would probably have clarity about your life, too. You might be able to walk on water!

What would you say to your 25-year-old self?

Nothing. Because if I said something to the 25-year-old self, I wouldn't be who I am now. People get pain and mistakes wrong. Pain and mistakes are what help you grow. When you do stuff right the first time, you don't know how you did it. It is the mistakes that make us better people.

I also think it is very important for us to love ourselves. And that's one of the reasons why, I can't say that I don't get down and the things that people say about me don't upset me at all, but I love me. And people say that's arrogant, but it's not; I like me. I'm cleaning me up on the inside. I love meditating. Most people hate meditating because they don't love themselves—they're not comfortable with their own self. So they're thinking about the wrong shit. Meditation allows me to face my fears, face who I am on the inside. God is just waiting on you. God is waiting on you in you.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

Mj Rodriguez has been giving us all of our lives since she emerged on our screens as the ever-so-fabbbulous Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista in Pose, in 2018. Since, she has captured the hearts of many all over the world, from LGBTQ advocates, to everyone in between. The beloved series officially came to a heart-wrenching end, after three seasons of tackling homelessness, sex work, the rejection that the trans community deals with on a daily basis and combined it with heart and dance to captivate millions around the world weekly.

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Sometimes, when things are a little "off" when it comes to our health, there are simple steps that we can take to get ourselves back on track. For instance, did you know that around 92 percent of Americans are considered to be vitamin or mineral deficient in some way? And since there are core nutrients that all of us need in order to function properly, it's important that we're aware of what certain deficiencies are directly linked to.

Today, that is the focus. Here are eight health-related issues that, oftentimes, if we'd just add more of a vitamin or mineral into our system, we will start to feel better in no time (technically a couple of weeks but you get my drift).

1. Muscle Cramping

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Something that happens randomly to me sometimes is I'll have a muscle that cramps up, seemingly out of nowhere. Then I'll snack on a banana and start to feel better. You know why? It's because bananas are high in potassium and potassium is a nutrient that our system needs in order for our muscles to easily contract. If you sweat a lot or don't have enough fluids in your system, you can become a high candidate for being potassium deficient. As far as how much your body requires on a daily basis, it's somewhere between 3,000-4,000 mg a day. Foods that are a good source of this mineral (that is also an electrolyte) include mushrooms, zucchini, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and lentils.

2. Lip Cracking

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If your PMS is off the chain or you've been catching a lot of colds lately, it could be because you need some more Vitamin B6 in your life. However, a telling sign that this is almost definitely the case is if the corners of your lips are cracking or even if your tongue feels a bit swollen.

The main thing to keep in mind with this point is if you're noticing indications that you could stand to have more Vitamin B6, there's a pretty good chance that your system has gotten close to totally running out. And just how much does your body need of this vitamin on the daily? About 1.3 mg. Up it up to 1.5 mg if you're over the age of 50.

Foods that are loaded with Vitamin B6 are peanuts, poultry, oats, avocados and pistachios.

3. Brittle Nails

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If it seems like no matter how much pampering you do to your nails, they are brittle and breaking, that could be an indication that you are low in iron and/or Vitamin C. The reality is that just our periods alone can make us vulnerable to having lower iron levels. And just how much should you be getting into your system? A lot of healthcare professionals recommend somewhere around 14.8 mg each day. As far as the Vitamin C goes, not only can you have brittle nails when you're not getting enough of it, this is a nutrient that makes it easier for your body to absorb iron too. 75 mg per day of it is recommended (120 mg each day if you're pregnant or are breastfeeding). Foods that are high in iron include beef, dark leafy greens, quinoa, pumpkin seeds and broccoli. Foods that are a good source of Vitamin C include citrus fruits, peppers, potatoes, berries and Brussel sprouts.

4. Allergy Symptoms

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If you've got allergy symptoms that are driving you totally up the wall or you're someone who deals with asthma or eczema, these things can be so much worse for you if you are low in omega-3. Long story short, they're fatty acids that pretty much every part of our body needs from our skin and hair to our reproductive system and our heart. Matter of fact, I actually read once that if you tend to have an excessive amount of earwax, that can also be a heads up that omega-3 is lacking. As far as how much is good for you, 1.1 grams daily is enough. And as far as foods that have omega-3 in them, those would be walnuts, spinach, salmon, chia seeds and eggs.

5. Weakness

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Magnesium is both a mineral as well as an electrolyte that helps to regulate muscle and nerve functions and keep your blood sugar in balance. Well, when you don't have enough magnesium in you, it can cause you to experience extreme amounts of fatigue and weakness. A part of the reason why is because magnesium is what helps to keep your potassium levels where they should be. So, when your potassium levels are low, your muscles will not perform with as much strength as they should. Somewhere around 315 mg each day is what your system requires. Foods that are loaded with magnesium include whole grains, pumpkin seeds, halibut, bananas and dark chocolate.

6. Hair Loss

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One of the main things that all of us need in order for our hair to flourish is zinc. It's a mineral that assists with hair tissue growth and repair, fights dandruff and, it also helps your scalp to produce the sebum that it needs for your hair follicles to remain healthy. That's why it makes a lot of sense that if you're low in zinc, you could possibly suffer from some hair loss or, the very least, hair breakage. What can keep your tresses in good condition is if you consume around 8 mg of zinc daily. Foods that are high in it include Greek yogurt, cashews, black beans, sesame seeds and kale.

7. Sleepiness

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OK, if you're out here getting less than six hours a night on a consistent basis, that's probably not an indication that you are lacking a nutrient; what that probably means is you are sleep deprived.

However, if it seems like no matter how much sleep you get at night and/or naps you take during the day, you are still sleepy as all get out, what that could be telling you is that you are low in Vitamin B12. I can personally attest to this because I was sleepy a lot (and I get no less than six hours a night and sometimes a nap) until I started taking a B12 supplement. When you're low in this vitamin, it can trigger sleepiness or even sleeplessness because it plays a significant role in maintaining your energy levels.

It's kinda crazy that a lot of us are Vitamin B12 deficient when most of us only need .002 mg a day of it. Anyway, foods that are a good source of this nutrient include liver, fortified cereals, shellfish, nutritional yeast and milk alternatives (like almond or oat milk).

8. Food Cravings

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Last fall, I wrote an article about signs that you've got a sugar addiction going on (you can check it out here). One indication is if you're constantly wanting to eat sweets all of the time. Well, along these same lines, if you're experiencing food cravings, that too could mean that you've not some nutrient deficiencies happening. Sweets typically mean that you can stand to have more magnesium or tryptophan. Fatty foods mean you need more calcium. Red meat, caffeine or the desire to chew ice means you're low in iron. Salt is oftentimes connected to dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance.

Wanting to eat bread all of the time could also mean that you could use a tryptophan boost (because you are looking for something to make you feel better and bread is a comfort food. Tryptophan helps to produce the feel-good hormone serotonin so that you don't want bread as much). Foods that are high in tryptophan include tuna, cheese, turkey, milk and apples.

While I certainly wasn't able to tackle all of the nutrient deficient-related issues that exist, take this as a bit of an intro cheat sheet. Again, if you are currently experiencing any of these issues, try getting more vitamins and minerals into your system. You might be surprised just how big of an impact...a little bit of tweaking can make.

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