Signs of Iron Deficiency and Best Foods to Boost Your Iron Levels
September 15, 2021
Iron is a mineral that enables our bodies to perform essential functions. Our bodies cannot produce this mineral naturally, so we must obtain it from foods.
As implied in its name, iron deficiency occurs when we don’t consume enough iron.
What Are the Health Risks of Iron Deficiency?
Iron is necessary to produce a protein called hemoglobin. This protein is essential for red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the whole body. Moreover, this lack of oxygen can prevent muscles and tissues from performing as they should. Also, iron insufficiency can lead to condition such as anemia.
Who Is at Risk of Developing Iron Deficiency?
The following people are at higher risk of developing an iron deficiency:
- Pregnant women
- Menstruating women
If you are in this high-risk group, we encourage you to talk to your doctor to ensure you are meeting your iron needs.
Iron Deficiency Symptoms
The iron deficiency symptoms can vary depending on factors like age and your health status. Likewise, some people don’t experience symptoms at all.
Some of the symptoms of iron deficiency include:
Fatigue and dizziness
As we already mentioned, an iron deficiency prevents our muscles from receiving sufficient oxygen such as your heart. Without enough oxygen, the heart has to work harder than usual. As a result, people with an iron deficiency are prone to experience symptoms like fatigue and dizziness.
Iron deficiency causes people to lose their healthy skin color. This symptom can either show up all over the body or in specific areas like:
- Gums and inside the lips
Shortness of breath
Since iron deficiency causes low oxygen levels in the body, you can also expect to experience shortness of breath. In fact, people with an iron deficiency often experience shortness of breath when performing activities that don’t require much effort. Some examples of such activities include walking or climbing stairs.
Restless leg syndrome
According to studies, people with iron deficiencies are prone to having restless leg syndrome. This condition causes people to experience discomfort in their feet and legs. As a result, people may feel the urge to move their legs to alleviate their discomfort.
To compensate for the lack of oxygen in the blood — which comes as a result of an iron deficiency — the heart works harder. Unfortunately, this can cause your heart to beat irregularly and can make you feel chest pain.
Best Foods to Prevent and Treat Iron Deficiency
If you believe your iron levels may be low, we strongly encourage you to reach out to your doctor. To improve your iron levels, a healthcare professional may suggest consuming foods rich in iron.
Top Iron-Rich Foods
Dietary iron can either be heme or nonheme. It is easier for our bodies to absorb heme iron. We can obtain heme iron from animal products like red meat and seafood. In contrast, we can obtain nonheme iron from plant sources like seeds, nuts, dried fruits, and dark green leafy vegetables.
Certain foods — such as foods rich in Vitamin C or A — can enhance iron absorption in your body. Some examples of foods rich in Vitamin C include garlic, dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, kiwi, and strawberries. Meanwhile, good sources of vitamin A include dairy products, fish, carrots, and eggs.
For more health and wellness information, nutritional advice, or fitness tips, please visit our Wellness Blog. Likewise, if you would like to start a healthy eating plan, please reach out to Z.E.N. Foods today at (310) 205–9368.