Common Symptoms of Iron Deficiency and Foods To Help Fight It
Your body is continuously pumping iron through the bloodstream every day, since iron is required in order to make hemoglobin1. Hemoglobin takes the oxygen from the lungs and distributes it throughout the bloodstream, delivering it to tissues and muscles. Meanwhile, hemoglobin also pushes carbon dioxide back to the lungs where it gets exhaled.
If your body isn’t absorbing the amount of iron it requires, it goes into deficiency. Symptoms of iron deficiency don’t become apparent until it has progressed to iron deficiency anemia 2– a condition in which iron levels in the body are so low that not enough normal red blood cells can be created in order to efficiently carry oxygen throughout the body. Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the US and is the leading cause of anemia.
Symptoms of iron deficiency include the following:
- Pale skin and fingernails
- Glossitis (inflamed tongue)
Some of the best animal sources of iron include:
- Lean beef
Some of the best plant sources of iron include:
- Beans and lentils
- Baked potatoes
- Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Whole-grain and enriched breads
For vegetarians, adding a vitamin C source to your diet will help enhance iron absorption.
The following populations are at a higher risk for developing an iron deficiency:
Women Who Are Pregnant: The increased blood volume during pregnancy requires more iron in order to propel oxygen to the growing fetus and reproductive organs. Consult your doctor or registered dietitian before starting an iron supplement.
Young Children: Babies store enough iron for the first six months of their life. But, after these first 6 six months, their iron needs increase. Breast milk and iron-fortified infant formula help to supply the iron not met by solids. Cow's milk is a poor source of iron. When children consume too much milk, they actually crowd out other foods and may develop "milk anemia." The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 3no cow's milk for children until after one year – at which point, it should be limited to no more than 4 cups per day.
Adolescent Girls: Their often inconsistent or restricted diets, coupled with rapid growth, can put them at risk of iron deficiency.
Women of Childbearing Age: Women who experience excessively heavy menstrual periods may develop iron deficiency.
The best way to prevent iron deficiency is to consume a balanced and healthy diet inclusive of good iron sources. For vegetarians, combine sources of iron with vitamin C in the same meal, such as a bell pepper-bean salad, spinach with lemon juice, or fortified cereal and berries.
We recommend taking NATURELO Iron with Vitamin C supplement to make sure you are getting enough iron in your diet on a daily basis.