Iron deficiency is more common than most people think, considering about 30% of the world population is anemic, mostly due to iron deficiency. It also happens to be the most common deficiency in the United States. So what is iron deficiency anemia?
Iron deficiency is the most common type of anemia, caused when the level of red blood cells is lower than normal, thanks to a lack of mineral iron in the body. Iron is vital when it comes to moving oxygen around your body. Here we have a look at what the symptoms are and what can be done for prevention.
Symptoms of Iron Deficiency
Most people don’t even realize they have an iron deficiency, considering the symptoms can be very small and mild at first. The best way to detect an iron deficiency is to simply get a blood test done, but the symptoms of a mild to severe case of iron deficiency include: fatigue, cold hands or feet, pale skin, dizziness, weakness, fast heart rate, brittle nails and shortness of breath. The main sign of an iron deficiency is fatigue, and feeling extremely sluggish, which isn’t ideal if you workout on a regular basis.
How To Get More Iron In Your Diet?
Getting more iron is very simple as long as you eat the right foods. For the most part, iron-rich foods are relatively easy to fit into your diet because meat is one of the largest sources. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t get iron from vegan or vegetarian sources. Beef liver, oysters and red meat are all great sources of iron but you can also get plenty of iron from the likes of beans, dark leafy green vegetables, dried fruit, nuts, and even fortified cereals – Reese’s Puffs and Lucky Charms anyone? Vegans and vegetarians do have to ensure they get enough iron, simply because they are at a higher risk of developing an iron deficiency.
A good tip when it comes to getting more iron is to make sure that you also eat a good source of vitamin C as this improves iron absorption. Vitamin C rich foods include oranges, strawberries and broccoli.
How Much Iron In My Diet?
Generally, men and non-menstruating women should be getting roughly 10 mg per day, with menstruating or nursing women aiming for a higher value of around 15 mg. Pregnant women should shoot for double that, at a whopping 30 mg per day. Pregnant women are actually more prone to iron deficiency as mineral iron is being shared and passed to the developing baby. Pregnant women also bleed more during delivery, which can cause substantially low iron counts.
The Bottom Line
Getting enough iron in one’s diet isn’t rocket science, but it can still prove a challenge for a lot of people. Supplementation is a great idea, but if you do make sure you take those pills with some high-quality vitamin C, for example a large glass of orange juice. If you feel you have an iron deficiency, see your doctor and make sure that you are healthy and happy.