Without enough iron in our bodies, the red blood cells won’t be able to carry enough oxygen throughout the body. It is important for us to include iron-rich foods in our diet so that we do not suffer from anemia. We must always keep a check on any symptom that points towards low iron content in our bodies and take the necessary measures.
Signs And Symptoms Of Iron Deficiency
1. Tiredness and fatigue together is a result of low energy in the body, which means that the body does not get enough oxygen due to iron deficiency.
2. Poor exercise tolerance and weakness happens when the muscles go low in iron and oxygen, leading to anemia.
3. Intolerance to cold is a result of non-regulation of body temperature and is a sign of iron deficiency.
4. Skipped heartbeats, rapid heartbeats, or dizziness upon standing are cardiovascular symptoms of iron deficiency due to the low production of oxygen. These symptoms are often accompanied by a whooshing sound in the ears, chest pain, shortness of breath, etc. In such cases, immediate medical attention is required.
5. Pale skin is also a sign of iron deficiency and is accompanied by smooth and sore tongue, hair loss, and brittle and spoon-shaped nails.
6. Forgetfulness due to inadequate delivery of oxygen in the brain hints at iron deficiency. It might be accompanied by restless leg syndrome and the unusual symptoms of pica.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Severe cases of anemia need medical attention. People who suffer from shortness of breath and chest pain with minimal or no action must seek a doctor’s advice immediately. Iron supplements are given to these patients and properly evaluated before any further complications arise. However, the first signs and symptoms of iron deficiency can be treated at home with a proper diet too.
Foods For Treating Iron Deficiency And Anemia
Iron is an important mineral required by the body, and once you get enough iron from the foods that you eat, minor signs and symptoms will disappear in a short span of time.
Fish And Seafood
Some species of fish and seafood like clams, oysters, and fishes that contain a high amount of heme iron are extremely beneficial to treat anemia.
Beef is a rich source of heme iron and contains 3 mg of iron per serving. However, the high content of saturated fats, cholesterol, and high calorie content do not make beef the best option for people who are overweight or those who are at a risk of any heart disease.
The meat of the livers of chickens, pigs, and cows are significant sources of heme iron. A single serving of chicken liver contains 12.8 mg of iron, which immediately helps us raise the iron content in our bodies. However, they must be consumed in moderation as they are high in saturated fat and calories. People who have the risk of heart disease must avoid organ meats as much as possible.
Nuts, Seeds, And Beans
Nuts, seeds, and beans are plant proteins that contain significant amounts of iron. While boiled soybeans contain 8.8 mg of iron, kidney beans and black beans contain 5.2 mg and 3.6 mg of iron respectively. Plant-based foods contain non heme iron and must be consumed in higher amounts than animal-based iron as it is not easily absorbed or retained by the human body.
Iron-rich plant products such as peanut butter, canned beans, pumpkin seeds, and lentils are also good sources of iron. Plant-based iron is a healthier option as it contains the healthy fats and fewer calories than animal-based, iron-rich foods.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Green vegetables with large leaves such as spinach and kale are darker in color and are regarded as quality sources of iron. A single serving of boiled spinach alone provides 3.2 mg of iron. Although they contain non heme iron, they are rich sources of valuable vitamins and minerals. Consumption of green leafy vegetables ensure overall good health as well.
Fortified foods contain high amounts of iron. Whole-grain cereals, breads, and pastas that have been fortified are rich in iron and fiber content. They’re absolutely vital when it comes to maintaining the overall health and well-being of a person.
To maintain your health and keep yourself non-anemic, make your diet iron-rich. With enough consumption of iron, vitamins and minerals, you will keep yourself in good health for over the long term.