Of all the minerals that your body needs daily, iron is the most essential, considering it is pumped continuously through the day. Iron is needed to make haemoglobin, a part of the red blood cells that helps transport oxygen and carbon dioxide to and fro. It takes oxygen in the lungs, transports it through the bloodstream and takes it to tissues including the skin and muscles. Then, it takes carbon dioxide and sends it back to the lungs where it is exhaled. However, if the body is not able to absorb its needed amount of iron to its best ability, it becomes iron deficient. This iron deficiency may turn into what we call as anaemia, symptoms of which may include fatigue, dizziness, headache etc. So, how to cope with iron deficiency? One of the best ways to do so is to tweak your diet a little to ensure you are loading up on iron-rich foods. Let's look at the important foods you need to include in your diet to prevent iron deficiency.
(Also Read: Why Do Women Need More Iron Than Men?)
Dietary tips to prevent iron deficiency | foods for iron deficiency
Here are some foods that you can load up on to ensure you are not iron deficient.
Look for green leafy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kale, and collard, asparagus, mushrooms, potatoes with skin, et al, which are rich in iron.
Make sure you address your iron deficiency by adding fruits and dry fruits like dates, dried apricots, berries, prunes, watermelon, pomegranate, raisins and blackcurrants in your diet.
Choose iron-fortified whole-grain bread, pasta, rice and cereal. Don't forget to scan these food items that contain at least 20 percent or more of the daily value for iron.
4. Nuts and seeds
All nuts and seeds contain some amount of iron. Try peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds and chia seeds as they have sufficient amount of iron.
(Also Read: Why Spinach And Lemon Juice Make A Great Pair)
Dietary tips to load up on more iron
- Did you know, cooking with iron pots and pans may help the food to absorb iron from them? This works well with most acidic foods.
- Make sure your calcium levels are in check. Calcium makes it harder for your body to absorb iron. Never take iron-rich foods with calcium-rich products like milk. Just be sure of having them at different times during the day.
- Load up on vitamin C as it helps absorb iron better. So, if you are making palak paneer or saag, don't forget to add a dash of lemon juice in it. Spinach, mustard greens, et al used in saag are all rich in iron content; lemon juice, on the other hand, is loaded with vitamin C.
- Limit the consumption of coffee, tea, and soda as it makes it harder for the body to absorb iron.
- Skip high fibre cereals, which can make it hard for your body to absorb iron.
Symptoms of iron deficiency
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Dry and damaged skin and hair
- Swelling and soreness of the tongue and mouth
- Restless legs
- Brittle fingernails
- In severe cases, people may suffer from an eating disorder called pica syndrome, where you can crave for all things inedible like chalk, clay, dirt, paper, et al.
- Frequent infections
(Also Read: What Happens To Your Body When It Is Iron Deficient)
Consult a doctor in case you are experiencing too many symptoms and make sure you make these tweaks in your diet to ensure a healthy you!
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.