If you look pale and complain of a frequent headache, your physician will prescribe you iron pills and suggest a diet rich in folic acid. It is disturbing to note that anemia caused due to iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the US alone.
Iron is a vital component of hemoglobin and is used to transport the oxygen from the lungs to rest of the body. This means if your body is devoid of iron, RBCs are produced in small quantities in your body.
Symptoms Of Iron Deficiency
Here are the common signs that indicate your body is not receiving the recommended intake of iron.
1. Unusual tiredness
2. Pale skin color of the inside of the lower eyelids
3. Shortness of breath
4. Lightheadedness coupled with throbbing headache
6. Soreness of the tongue and
7. Brittle fingernails
Sources Of Iron
Apart from over-the-counter iron supplements, you can include these natural foods as part of your regular diet.
1. Leafy greens
There’s a good reason why Popeye loves his spinach. Leafy greens like spinach, collard greens, and dandelion greens are a rich source of nonheme iron. Other sources like citrus fruits, beans, and whole grains can be made part of your diet.
Sources like red meat, lamb, and chicken have high amounts of iron content. Combine them with leafy greens to increase the absorption of iron.
3. Organ meat
Do not shy away from eating organ meats like heart, liver, and kidney. These food sources are high in iron and folate.
Include fresh fish like tuna, salmon, halibut, perch, and haddock in your daily diet. Tweak your choices and spread your platter with oysters, clams, and juicy shrimps.
5. Fortified food
If you are a vegetarian and you find it difficult to eat other types of food, take your pick from fortified foods that are loaded with iron. Sources like orange juice, cereals, pasta, and cornmeal are some of the recommended choices.
If you want variety, add kidney beans, chickpeas, soybeans, black-eyed peas and black peas to your salad. Other sources like lima beans and pinto beans are popular among vegan and non-vegetarian eaters.
7. Nuts and seeds
Nuts like pumpkin seeds, cashews, pistachios, and hemp seeds are rich sources of iron. You can sprinkle pine nuts, sunflower seeds, and almonds on your salad or yoghurt for added taste and flavor. Seeds contain a high amount of plant protein, fiber, antioxidants and other important plant compounds. Nut butter is a great source of non-heme iron while macadamia nuts contain 1-1.6 mg of iron.
Make an interesting dip with hummus made from chickpeas or tahini that contain nearly 3 mg of iron.
8. Foods derived from soybean
It is estimated that soybean contains approximately 49 percent of the recommended dietary intake of iron. You can switch to natto, which is a type of fermented soybean product or includes tofu that provides 3 to 3.6 milligram of iron.
Cooked oats contain 3.4 mg of iron in addition to plant protein and zinc.
These fruits are a powerhouse of iron and vitamin C that goes a long way in providing you with the recommended iron intake.