People in the United States have a problem with iron deficiency and this is a leading cause of anemia in this country. If you are wondering what iron can do, well, it helps your body get enough oxygen and it makes hemoglobin that carries it.
So, without enough iron, your body will not get enough oxygen and you can develop anemia. This condition happens when your body is lacking vitamin B12 and iron.
Causes of Iron Deficiency
- Lack of iron in the food. Vegans and people who don’t eat meat can have an iron deficiency because there is not enough iron in other foods.
- Heavy bleeding, like bleeding inside the body (colorectal cancer and peptic ulcers) or heavy periods.
- Not being able to absorb iron because of celiac disease or if the part of the small intestine is removed
- Chronic kidney diseases
- Pregnancy, because iron levels in the body have to serve both expectant mother and fetus
Symptoms of Anemia
- Lack of concentration
- Higher risk of infections
- Shortness of breath
- Pale skin
- Delay normal growth and development in children
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat which can lead to heart problems
- Premature births and low birth weight babies
- Brittle nails
What is Recommended Daily Dosage of Iron?
For enough iron per day, you need to intake 18 mg of iron if you are a woman of reproductive age, 27 mg if you are a pregnant woman and 8 mg if you are a man. When it comes to breastfeeding women, they should consume 9 mg a day and girls from 14 to 18 need to intake 15 mg of iron per day.
Which Food is Full of Iron?
You can intake iron from two food groups:
- Animal source – red meat, poultry, internal parts (such as heart and liver), eggs yolks and seafood
- Vegetable source – legumes, nuts and almonds, tahini, dried fruit, and green leafy vegetables such as parsley
You can also find iron in cereals or bread.
Improve Iron Absorption
You will need to consume vitamin C and fresh veggies, but also walnuts and almonds.
You can always consider taking iron supplements, but before taking them, you should consult your doctor. You can take them in several forms, such as capsule, syrup or intravenous infusion.
Remember that some of these supplements can cause side effects such as abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, changes in stool color or general discomfort in the abdomen.
Liquid supplements have fewer side effects because they are easier for the digestive system.
What Can Prevent Iron Absorption?
- Oxalic acid in green veggies can cause that (spinach is rich in oxalic acid and it can interfere with the iron absorption).
- Drinking tea, coffee or eating chocolate
- Phytic acid in whole grains can also interfere with iron absorption.