In recent discussion with clients, Iron deficiency has been a hot topic. We have put together some information to help you get an adequate amount of iron into your diet every day. This is for information only. If you are concerned about your iron levels please contact your doctor and get it checked. Never trust doctor google for a diagnosis.
Symptoms of iron deficiency (anemia)
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Shortness of breathe
- Dizziness (light headiness)
- Coldness in your hands and feet
- Pale skin
- Chest pain
- Irregular heart beat
- Brittle nails
- Swelling or soreness of tongue
- Cracks in the side of your mouth
- An enlarged spleen
- Cravings for non-food like dirt, ice, paint or starch
- RLS- Restless legs syndrome (also effects people with low magnesium levels)
- Frequent infections
What causes iron deficiency?
- Inadequate Iron Intake
- Eating too little iron over an extended amount of time can cause a shortage in your body. Foods such as bean, legumes, eggs, meat and some green leafy vegetables are high in iron. Because iron is essential during times of rapid growth and development, pregnant women and young children may need even more iron-rich foods in their diet
- Pregnancy or Blood Loss Due to Menstruation
- In women of childbearing age, the most common causes of iron deficiency anemia are heavy menstrual bleeding and blood loss during childbirth.
- Internal Bleeding
- Certain medical conditions can cause internal bleeding, which can lead to iron deficiency anemia. Examples include an ulcer in your stomach, polyps (tissue growths) in the colon or intestines, or colon cancer. Regular use of pain relievers, such as aspirin, can also cause bleeding in the stomach.
- Inability to Absorb Iron
- Certain disorders or surgeries that affect the intestines can also interfere with how your body absorbs iron. Even if you get enough iron in your diet, celiac disease or intestinal surgery, such as gastric bypass, may limit the amount of iron your body can absorb.
How is iron deficiency diagnosed?
A doctor can diagnose anemia with a blood test. Please don’t self diagnose. Although you may have all the signs, there may be something else going on in your body that you are not aware of. Please seek medical advice to be certain.
Potential health complications related to iron deficiency:
- Rapid or irregular heart beat
- Pregnancy complications
- Delayed growth in infants and children
How is iron deficiency treated?
Iron tablets can help restore the iron levels in your body. If possible, take iron tablets on an empty stomach to help them absorb better. If they upset your tummy, take them with meals
A diet high in iron rich foods such as:
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Dried fruits
- Meat & poultry
Treat underlying cause of bleeding
If your iron deficiency is caused from internal bleeding, iron tablets and diet wont help to increase your iron levels. So treating the underlying cause is important to improve your health
In the most worst cases, a blood transfusion can replace iron and blood loss quickly
Do vegans and vegetarians get enough iron because they don’t eat red meat?
Yes. Vegans and Vegetarians get enough iron in their diets as long as their diets are high in vegetables, legumes, beans etc. Most people who live a vegan lifestyle, research vegan diets to ensure they are eating enough of the essential vitamins, minerals and proteins their bodies need to function properly. Below I have compiled a list of plant foods that are high in iron. You DO NOT have to eat read meat to get a sufficient amount of iron in
Soybeans 1 cup cooked= 8.8mg
Lentils 1 cup cooked= 6.6mg
Spinach 1 cup cooked= 6.4mg
Tofu 115g= 6.4mg
Chickpeas 1 cup cooked= 4.7mg
Kidney beans 1 cup cooked 3.6mg
Quinoa 1 cup cooked= 2.8mg
Almonds 1/4 cup= 1.3mg
Kale 1 cup cooked= 1.2mg
Broccoli 1 cup cooked= 1.1mg
Sesame seeds 2 TBS= 1mg
20 small muscles= 15mg
12 oysters= 7mg
150g Beef= 5.5mg
2 large eggs= 2mg
198g salmon= 0.7mg
FYI: Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron