• Foodguru

DO YOU TAKE ENOUGH IRON ?

Updated: Aug 8, 2020



WHAT IS IRON ?

Iron is an essential mineral.It's main job is to carry oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our body.It is also part of the enzymes that are essential for optimal digestion and overall body health. Without enough iron, red blood cells are fewer and smaller, which means they’re not transporting sufficient oxygen where it needs to go,which is one kind of anemia. When this happens, your organs and tissues can’t work as well as they should.

Anemia: A Greek word meaning “without blood” – occurs when the body has a low number of red blood cells (RBCs).



What are the general signs and symptoms of anemia?

  • Fatigue and Unusual Tiredness

When your body doesn’t have enough hemoglobin, less oxygen reaches your tissues and muscles, depriving them of energy. In addition, your heart has to work harder to move more oxygen-rich blood around your body, which can make you tired.

  • Increased heart rate

In cases of iron deficiency, the heart has to work extra hard to transport oxygen around the body which can lead to irregular or fast heartbeats and even heart murmurs, an enlarged heart or heart failure.

  • Shortness of Breath

When going up inclines,If you find yourself out of breath doing regular, daily tasks that you used to find easy, such as walking, climbing stairs or working out, iron deficiency could be the reason.

  • Pale Skin

Paleness in general or in specific areas such as the face, lips, lower inner eyelid or nails may be a sign of moderate or severe iron deficiency. This is caused by lower levels of hemoglobin, which gives blood its red color.

  • Frequent Headaches

This symptom seems to be less common than others and often goes hand in hand with lightheadedness or dizziness. Low levels of hemoglobin in red blood cells mean that not enough oxygen can reach the brain. As a result, blood vessels in the brain can swell, causing pressure and headaches.

  • Brittle or Spoon-Shaped Fingernails

This is a rare side effect and usually only seen in severe cases of iron-deficiency anemia.

OTHER POTENTIAL SIGNS

• Restless Leg Syndrome

• Difficulty Concentrating

• Poor Memory

• Hypersensitivity to Cold Temperatures

• Loss Of Appetite

• Swelling and Soreness of the Tongue and Mouth

• Low endurance (you run out of “gas” fast)

• Hair loss

• Reduced Work Productivity

• Impaired Memory

• Impaired Concentration

• Apathy and Depression

• Reduced Resistance To Infections (e.g. more frequent colds during winter/change of seasons)




What Causes Low Iron?

• Low iron diet

• Blood loss

• Ulcers

• Woman -Heavy Menstruation,Pregnancy

• Low vitamin D levels

• Artificial Sweeteners

• Athletes – High Impact Sports + Excessive Sweating

The more active the person, the more dietary iron she/he needs. Constant impact activity, such as running, reduces iron levels more dramatically than other types of exercise because of the more strenuous hemolysis. With each foot strike, a small amount of blood is released from the damaged capillaries. In time, this will lead to anemia if the runner doesn’t pay close attention to her diet. Iron is also lost through sweat.


What’s the Treatment?


• Increase iron consumptions

• Get Outside – Sunlight

• Eat a whole food plant-based diet

• Avoid highly processed foods

• Natural supplements

• Use high quality cast iron cookware


Which foods provide Iron ?

Iron has a low bioavailability, meaning that the small intestine does not readily absorb large amounts. This decreases its availability for use and increases the likelihood of deficiency.One is generally confused about what to eat,what to avoid,which food contain iron and so on.Iron from food comes in two forms: heme and non-heme.Our bodies absorb heme iron better than non-heme iron.


Food Sources Of Non-Heme Iron (plant-based protein)

  • Fortified breakfast cereals

  • Potato with skin

  • Tofu

  • Spinach (cooked)

  • Lentils (cooked)

  • Soybeans(cooked)

  • Black eyed peas (Lobia)

  • Seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds)

  • Prune Juice

  • Dried fruits (raisins, apricots, etc.)

  • Nuts (cashews, almonds, pistachio, etc.)

Food Sources Of Heme Iron (animal-based protein)

  • Canned light tuna

  • Organ meats

  • Chicken Liver

  • Fish (Halibut, Haddock, Salmon, Tuna)

  • Ham

  • Organ meats

  • Oysters,clams

  • Veal

  • Turkey

  • Chicken

  • Mussels

Consuming vitamin-C-rich foods alongside food rich in Iron (non-heme) can dramatically increase iron absorption.


How much Iron do you need?

Iron–either too much or too little–linked with increased tuberculosis-related sickness or death

Life Stage Recommended Amount (per day)

Adult men 19–50 years 8 mg

Adult women 19–50 years 18 mg

Adults 51 years and older 8 mg

Pregnant teens 27 mg

Brest-feeding 10 mg


Do You Need Iron Supplements?


Women who lose a lot of blood during their monthly period (heavy periods) are at higher risk of iron deficiency anaemia and may need to take iron supplements.

It is preferable to achieve optimal iron intake and status through the diet rather than supplements. This can help minimize the risk of iron overdose and ensure a good intake of the other nutrients found alongside iron in foods.


What happens if you take too much Iron?

Discuss taking an iron supplement with a physician as excess iron can be dangerous, and iron supplements are not recommended except in cases of diagnosed deficiency, or where a person is at high risk of developing iron deficiency.Side effects of taking high doses (over 20mg) of iron include:

  • constipation

  • feeling sick

  • vomiting

  • stomach pain

Very high doses of iron can be fatal, particularly if taken by children, so always keep iron supplements out of the reach of children.


What does the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare advise?

Most people should be able to get all the iron they need by eating a varied and balanced diet. If you take iron supplements, don't take too much as this could be harmful.

Taking less or excessive a day of iron supplements is unlikely to cause harm.





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