Iron Deficiency: It’s More Common Than You Think

By Kaci Lee

The facts: 1 in 10 women are iron deficient. Here’s the lowdown on iron deficiency so that you will know the signs and symptoms, and what to do if you are deficient.

What is iron deficiency?

Having low iron (better known as anemia) is a condition from having insufficient iron in the body. Iron is needed to carry oxygen to other parts of the body.  Without it, our bodies are unable to store and use the oxygen.

There are many causes, but the most common in premenopausal women is loss of blood from a heavy period. Having a diet low in iron-rich foods is also a factor that can lead to a deficiency. If you show the symptoms below, there is a chance that you have low iron.

Signs and symptoms (via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

  • Feeling weak and tired
  • Decreased work and school performance
  • Difficulty maintaining body temperature
  • Decreased immune function
  • Glossitis (an inflamed tongue)
  • Slow cognitive and social development during childhood

The long term fatigue from having anemia can lead to impaired work. In teenagers, long term anemia impairs memory and other mental capabilities.

But not to worry, anemia is a condition that can improve easily. Below are ways to improve your iron intake.

1.     Take an iron supplement

Taking iron in a pill or liquid form is a quick and easy way to increase your iron intake. Almost all pills are small and are easy to swallow.

Liquid iron can be taken alone, but the taste is better with a drink masking it, like orange or apple juice. The recommended dosage for women ages 19-35 is 18 mg.

2.     Adding iron-rich foods to your diet

This is the easiest way to incorporate iron into a daily routine. With just a few changes in food choices, the fatigue from anemia can be easily remedied.

Common foods that have tons of iron include:

  • Healthy whole-grain cereals and oatmeal
  • Leafy greens (collards, spinach, kale)
  • Poultry and red meat
  • Seafood (clams, oysters, shrimp)
  • Beans and lentils (kidney beans, chickpeas, lima beans, etc.)

Don’t forget the Vitamin C!

According to Dr. Oz, adding vitamin C to iron-rich dishes increases the absorption of iron five times faster.

Vitamin C filled foods to add to your meals:

  • Citrus Fruits (grapefruit, oranges, kiwi)
  • Red/green bell peppers
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Guava/papaya/mango
  • Broccoli and cauliflower

While anemia is common, taking the steps above will help you defeat it. Whether you decide to add an extra daily pill or switch up your eating habits, making these slight changes will increase your energy.

Works Cited

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Photo Credit

http://lifehacker.com/the-poke-test-using-a-fork-to-flip-and-other-steak-co-513292207

Categories: Home, Your Nutrition

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