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5 Things Your Tongue Can Tell You About Your Overall Health

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Just opening your mouth and taking a peek at your tongue is one of the easiest ways to detect a nutrient deficiency — which two in three of us half. Check for these signs.

If it is swollen and sore, up your B-12.

Your risk of a B-12 deficiency doubles after age 50 — and a swollen tongue is a common tip-off. Other clues are chronic tiredness, blue moods, and brain fog. The fix: Taking a daily 1,000 mcg. dose of B-12 in a quick-dissolving tablet placed under the tongue (sublingual) can correct a shortfall, and erase your symptoms, according to C.W. Randolph Jr., MD, medical director of Florida’s Ageless and Wellness Medical Center.

If it has a white coating, eat more yogurt.

Yeast overgrowths in the digestive tract can cause a white coating on the tongue. Other sings are achy joints, bloating, and carb cravings. Three studies suggest that eating one cup of plain yogurt daily can help destroy 75 percent of digestive tract yeast — and clear up that white coating — in as little as eight weeks.

If it has deep cracks, stock up on sweet potatoes.

Deep tongue cracks often signal a vitamin A shortfall. “Your body uses vitamin A to keep tissues like the ones on your tongue healthy,” explains Dr. Randolph. Another indication is red, scratchy and/or irritated eyes. Eat a cup of sweet potatoes each day. They’re natures number-one source of beta-carotene, the key building block your body needs to make vitamin A.

If it is very pale, have a burger.

Up to one in five of us are deficient in iron — and a pale pink tongue is a red flag, say Cornell University researchers. Other clues: breathlessness climbing stairs, headaches, and memory woes. A daily 4-oz. serving of red meat or poultry, or one cup of iron-rich legumes, can restock your tissue stores of iron and erase symptoms within three months, UCLA researchers say.

If you have canker sores, have some honey.

Those mouth sores will heal almost twice as fast if you sip two cups of tea sweetened with unpasteurized honey each day, research suggests. Raw honey is packed with enzymes that destroy the viruses that fuel the painful flareups.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Reverse Aging.

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