Pale or yellowish skin, dry and damaged hair and skin, more frequent headaches and dizziness, shortness of breath, tiredness or fatigue, faster heartbeat, and restless legs — If you are experiencing these symptoms lately, your body might be in dire need of iron.
Iron deficiency is occurs when your body lacks iron, which results to low levels of red blood cells. This can be caused by poor or restricted diet, pregnancy, heavy menstrual period, and certain conditions limiting iron absorption. If left untreated, it can lead to heart problems, complications during pregnancy, and on very severe cases, even death.
Here are some steps you can take to combat iron deficiency.
Choose food rich in iron. Beef, pork, poultry, organ meats, and shellfish are heavy in heme iron, which is a type of iron that our bodies can easily absorb. Leafy greens, peas, beans, nuts, lentils, and tofu are sources of non-heme iron, which are not as easily absorbed. It is best to combine them with food that can aid in iron absorption.
Consider food combinations to boost iron absorption. Fruits and vegetables i.e. orange, strawberries and broccoli rich in vitamin C are a must. Food loaded with beta-carotene, phytates, and carbohydrates also help.
If iron deficiency is caused by blood loss, treat the root cause. It is imperative to talk to your doctor and find out what is causing your heavy menstrual period. Loss of iron can also be associated with digestive problems.
Avoid coffee, tea, and milk during meals. These drinks greatly hinder iron absorption.
Don’t forget the good old fashioned iron supplements. If you are still elusive to supplements, now is the best time to start. Consult with your doctor or trusted pharmacist and find out your options on how to boost your iron.