Iron is an essential mineral found in every cell of our body and is used in the production of red blood cells. It’s important in the formation of haemoglobin which is the part of the red blood cell responsible for carrying oxygen from our lungs to our brain, tissue and muscles and enables the oxygen to move freely between cells. This is why one of the symptoms of an iron deficiency is fatigue as our organs struggle to receive the oxygen required to function optimally. Iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies we know about. Thankfully this can be confirmed by a blood test where you red blood cell, haemoglobin and ferritin levels can be checked. Our bodies can store 25% of iron naturally which is stored as ferritin. Men can store ferritin in the body and for up to three years, but woman can only store it for one year making them more susceptible to anemia. Iron deficient anemia can be common amongst teenagers, young adults, during pregnancy and menstruation.
Some of the symptoms of iron deficient anemia include :
1. shortness of breath,
3. pale skin,
5. cold hands and feet
6. brittle nails
7. strange cravings to eat items that are not food (dirt)
We need to make that we are getting iron though diet and if not in supplement form. Including iron rich foods from the list below with every meal is the best way to prevent iron deficient anaemia. It’s important to remember if you are trying to increase your iron intake - eating a food rich in vitamin C along side the iron source will increase the absorption of the iron. Foods high in calcium can inhibit iron absorption - this includes supplements and dairy.
✔️fortified cereals and breads
Iron when taken in large doses can be toxic. If you are considering a supplement speak to your Doctor or Nutritionist/Dietician to make sure you are taking the correct amount, you might find that by making a few simple changes to your diet that you getting enough and won’t need a supplement.