Anemia occurs when you have a level of red blood cells (RBCs) in your blood that is lower than normal. Iron deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia, and it occurs when your body doesn’t have enough of the mineral iron. Your body needs iron to make a protein called hemoglobin. This protein is responsible for carrying oxygen to your body’s tissues, which is essential for your tissues and muscles to function effectively. When there isn’t enough iron in your blood stream, the rest of your body can’t get the amount of oxygen it needs.
While the condition may be common, a lot of people don’t know they have iron deficiency anemia. It’s possible to experience the symptoms for years without ever knowing the cause.
In women of childbearing age, the most common cause of iron deficiency anemia is a loss of iron in the blood due to heavy menstruation or pregnancy. A poor diet or certain intestinal diseases that affect how the body absorbs iron can also cause iron deficiency anemia. Doctors normally treat the condition with iron supplements or changes to diet.
What causes iron deficiency?
Iron deficiency anemia relates directly to a lack of iron in the body. The cause of the iron deficiency varies, however.
Diets that lack iron are a leading cause of iron deficiency.
Foods rich in iron, such as eggs and meat, supply the body with much of the iron it needs to produce hemoglobin. If a person does not eat enough to maintain their iron supply, an iron deficiency can develop.
Iron is found primarily in the blood, as it is stored in red blood cells. An iron deficiency may result when a person loses a lot of blood from an injury, giving birth, or heavy menstruation.
In some cases, slow loss of blood from chronic diseases or some cancers can lead to an iron deficiency.
3.Decreased ability to absorb iron
Some people are not able to absorb enough iron from the food they eat. This may be due to a problem with the small intestine, such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease, or if a portion of the small intestine has been removed.
Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency
Check out these symptoms of iron deficiency and, if you have them, see your doc and request a ferritin test, which measures your body’s iron stores.
The most common symptom of iron deficiency, it’s also possibly the most difficult one to detect.”Women are so used to having frenetic lives and feeling tired,”They often just dismiss being tired as part of life.”
However, iron deficiency causes less oxygen to reach your tissues, so your body is deprived of the energy it needs. If your “normal” fatigue is coupled with you feeling, weak, irritable, or unable to focus, iron (or a lack thereof) might have something to do with it. After all, there’s a reason people whose iron deficiency progresses into anemia are often said to have “tired blood.”
2.You have heavy periods
In women, the number-one cause of iron deficiency is too-heavy periods,”They lose too much blood, replace about half of it, and then lose too much again the following month, “It’s like filling up a car with a small hold in the tank.”Your period should only fill two to three tablespoons each month. Try the tampon test: If you have to change your tampon more frequently than every two hours, talk to your gyno.
There’s a reason the words “pale” and “sickly” are often used interchangeably. Hemoglobin gives your blood its red color and, thus, your skin its rosy hue. That means that low levels of the protein can suck the color straight from your skin.If you have a light complexion, it’s pretty easy to spot. No matter your skin tone, though, if the inside of your lips, your gums, and the inside of your bottom eyelids are less red than usual, low iron may be to blame.
4. You get short of breath easily
No matter how deeply you breathe, if your oxygen levels are low, you’ll feel out of air, if you notice yourself getting out of breath doing things that you’d normally handle just fine — be it climbing a flight or stairs or knocking out your usual workout — iron deficiency could be to blame.
5.Your heart is pounding
An overworked heart can end up suffering from irregular heartbeats, heart murmurs, enlargement, and even heart failure.Before you freak out, don’t. For things to get that bad, you would probably have to suffer from iron deficiency anemia for quite some time, However, if you know you have heart problems, it’s important to get your iron levels checked as iron deficiency can worsen existing heart problems.
6.Your head hurts
An iron-deficient body will prioritize getting oxygen to your brain before it worries about other tissues, but even then, your noggin will still get less than it ideally should,In response, the brain’s arteries can swell, causing headaches.
7.You crave clay, dirt, and ice
Called pica, craving (and actually eating) non-food substances can be a sign of of iron deficiency. Iron-deficient people may be tempted to chow down on chalk, clay, dirt, and paper. Luckily, most women opt for ice, who tells her anemic patients to come back to see her if they start craving ice.
8.You have restless leg syndrome
Can’t stop fidgeting? About 15% of people with restless leg syndrome have iron deficiency. The lower the iron levels, the worse the symptoms.
7.You feel anxious for no reason
As if your life wasn’t stressful enough, iron deficiency can trick you into feeling even more anxious. A lack of oxygen revs up your body’s sympathetic nervous system, which is kind of like your body’s gas pedal Plus, since iron deficiency can send your heart racing, it’s easy to feel like you’re in fight-or-flight mode even when you have every reason to feel relaxed.
8.You’re losing your hair
Iron deficiency, especially when it progresses into full-blown iron deficiency anemia, can cause hair loss.”It sends your body into survival mode, so your body channels oxygen to support vital functions as opposed to ones like keeping your hair intact.Don’t panic if there are a few hairs in your drain, though. Most scalps lose about 100 hairs on a good day.
9.You’re vegetarian or vegan
All iron is not created equal. Your body absorbs heme iron — which comes from meat, poultry, and fish — two to three times more efficiently than non-heme iron from plants.you can still get enough iron with careful meal planning. Dark leafy greens, whole grains, and legumes are all rich in iron; pair them with vitamin-C-rich foods like bell peppers, berries, and broccoli to boost your absorption.
10.You have an underactive thyroid
Iron deficiency slows your body’s thyroid function and blocks its metabolism-boosting effects.Hypothyroidism if often missed — six in 10 people with a thyroid disease don’t know they have it, so if you notice low energy levels, weight gain, or even a lower body temperature, talk to your doc.
11.Your tongue looks weird
Besides sapping the color out of your tongue, low iron counts can reduce levels of myoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that supports muscle health, like the muscle that makes up the tongue,As a result, many people who are iron deficient complain of a sore, inflamed, and strangely smooth tongue.
Folic acid deservedly gets a lot of pre-natal press, but babies-to-be also need iron, and they can steal mom’s stores. What’s more, many women lose a substantial amount of blood during delivery, which can lower iron counts.
If you’re pregnant with multiples, have pregnancies close together, or regularly vomit because of morning sickness, you may need to boost your iron intake.
How To Fight with Anemia :
Spinach is a very popular leafy vegetable that help in preventing anemia. It is a rich source of calcium, Vitamins A, B9, E and C, iron, fiber and beta carotene. It will help in improving the overall health of your body. It is found out that half a cup of boiled spinach contains 3.2 mg of iron and this accounts for about 20 percent of the iron requirement for a woman’s body. So, make sure that you take spinach in your daily diet to increase the blood in your body.
Beetroot is known to be very effective in fighting anemia. It is a vegetable that is filled with iron content. It will help in repairing and reactivating your red blood cells. Once the red blood cells are activated, the supply of oxygen to all parts of the body increases. Adding beet-root in any form in your daily diet will help to easily fight anemia.
There is rich iron content in lamb, beef and other red meats. It contains heme-iron which will be easily absorbed by the body. The heart, kidneys, and the liver of the red meats are those parts that contain high quantities of iron. It is also a great source of Vitamin B12. It is said that the beef liver has more than 600 percent of your daily requirements of iron.
Peanut butter is a rich source of iron. Try to include peanut butter in your daily diet. If you do not like the taste of peanut butter, you can also think of eating a handful or roasted peanuts everyday to fight anemia. Two tablespoons of peanut butter contain 0.6 mg of iron.
Vitamin C is the main ingredient in tomatoes along with lycopene. The Vitamin C in tomatoes helps in easy absorption of iron. Tomatoes are also rich in beta carotene and Vitamins E and hence help in natural conditioning of the hair and skin.
Eggs are a rich source of proteins and contain a lot of antioxidants that will help in stocking up vitamins in the body when you are suffering from anemia. A large egg is said to contain 1 mg of iron and hence consumption of an egg everyday will help in fighting anemia.
One of the popular fruits that contain a rich source of iron and Vitamin C is pomegranates. It helps in improving the blood flow in your body and is also very effective in treating anemic symptoms like weakness, dizziness, exhaustion and even loss of hearing.
• Make it a point to eat one full pomegranate every day to reduce the anemic symptoms.
• You can also prepare a strong juice out of the pomegranate seeds and consume a glass of it everyday with your breakfast.
Beans are a great source of iron and vitamins. Soybeans are considered to be the beans that contain high iron content. It contains phytic acid that prevents the absorption of iron. Soybean is a low fat and high protein food that fights anemia. It is important for you to prepare the soybeans properly in order to gain maximum health benefits.
9.Whole Grain Bread
A slice of whole grain bread is said to contain about six percent of the daily iron required for the body. It is a very good source of non-heme iron and will help the body to fight deficiency of iron effectively. The whole grains in the bread contain phytic acid that has the potential to inhibit iron in the body. But, since whole grain bread is prepared through fermenting process, the phytic acid inhibitors in the grains are significantly lowered.
• Replace your white bread with whole grain bread for breakfast.
• Take two to three slices of whole grain bread every day to boost iron levels in the body.
Nuts are a great source of iron and will help you to easily boost the iron levels in your body. It helps you immensely to gain iron levels in your body even when you are on the move.
• Pistachio nuts are the best source of iron as it contains 15 mg of iron in 100 grams of nuts.
• Take a handful of pistachio and apricot nuts everyday as a mid breakfast snack or mid afternoon snack everyday to increase iron levels in the body.
Honey is very good for the entire body. It contains a good amount of iron. You will get about 0.42 mg of iron in 100 grams of honey. Moreover, honey also contains copper and magnesium that will help in increasing the hemoglobin in your body.
• Adding one tablespoon of honey to a glass of fresh lemon juice early in the morning on an empty stomach everyday will help in effectively fighting anemia.
12.Peaches, Prunes and Raisins
• Peaches, raisins and prunes are found to be a rich source of iron. In fact, dried peaches contain 6 mg of iron per 100 grams.
• You need to take half a bowl of mixture of peaches, prunes and raisins along with your breakfast or as a health mid day snack everyday to improve iron in your body.
13.Add Molasses To Your Baked Dishes
• One tablespoon of molasses is said to contain 3.2 mg of iron.
• Make sure that you add molasses to your baking in order to increase the iron intake and to enjoy tasty foods.
14. Apple And Dates
Apple and dates are also known to help in boosting iron levels in the body.
• The Vitamin C in the apple helps the body to absorb non heme-iron.
• Apple contains 0.12 mg of iron per 100 grams.
• Dates also contain high quantities of iron and are very useful to fight anemia.
• Eating an apple a day and about 10 dates daily will help to fight anemia.
15. Eat More Lean Meats
Iron found in red meat, poultry and fish – known as heme iron – is much more easily absorbed by the human digestive tract. If you think you may be iron deficient, try adding an extra helping of lean meat to your daily menu.
Remember that while there are many seemingly excellent vegetable sources of iron like soy, spinach and other dark leafy greens, the non-heme iron found in plants is much harder to digest.
16.Steam Your Veggies
The process of steaming vegetables increases the bio-availability of iron contained within them. Just be sure not to over-cook your veggies as this can quickly denature many of the delicate nutrients they have to offer.
17.Take Vitamin C
Ascorbic acid, more commonly known as Vitamin C, plays a major role in the absorption of iron in the intestines. Eating foods high in vitamin C in conjunction with iron-rich foods can go a long way toward preventing or reversing an iron deficiency. Try adding sweet red or yellow peppers to high-protein meals for a healthy dose of ascorbic acid. Also, check out healthaliciousness.com’s list of foods highest in vitamin C for more great ideas.
You can also take vitamin C supplements before or after eating a meal high in iron to promote better absorption.
18.Get More B Vitamins
Folic acid (B-9) and cobalamin (B-12) can both help to reverse or prevent an iron-deficiency. B-12 is readily available from fish, poultry and red meat, all of which are also great sources of iron. B-9 is found in high concentrations in vegetables like avocado, oranges, dark leafy greens and many legumes which are also excellent vegetarian sources of iron.
19.Watch Out For Inhibitors
While there are several nutrients which help the body to better digest and process iron, there are also quite a few inhibitors. Minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper compete with iron for absorption. Phytic acid found in grains, legumes, and vegetables binds to iron and carries it out of the digestive tract undigested. Also, high fiber foods can cause iron to pass through the intestines without being absorbed. Another iron-inhibitor, tannic acid is commonly used in beer and wine as a clarifying agent, as well as in soft drinks and juices to impart a more appetizing aroma.
20.Avoid Taking Antacids
Both calcium and magnesium which are found in large concentrations in antacid tablets compete with iron for absorption in the digestive tract. To be sure you’re getting the most iron from your food that you possibly can, try to avoid taking antacids right after eating an iron-rich meal.
21. Avoid Cigarette Smoke
It’s no secret that cigarette smoke is bad for you. Quitting smoking will improve not only your iron levels, but also every other aspect of your health. Also, be sure to avoid exposure to second-hand smoke as breathing these toxic fumes can be even worse than directly inhaling from a filtered cigarette!
22.Use Cast Iron Cookware
Cooking food in a cast iron pan can add a significant amount of iron to a meal. This is especially true with highly acidic foods like tomatoes, olive oil, cheese and other dairy products. Also, the longer food stays in the pan, the more iron will transfer into it.
If you’re only going to own one piece of cast iron cookware, I highly recommend this Lodge pre-seasoned 15” skillet – the most frequently used item in my kitchen! You may also want to try slow-cooking tomato sauce in a cast iron Dutch oven like this one to add more iron to your diet. One final tip from a veteran cast iron cook: If you find that your traditional oven mitts are too thin to protect your hands from hot handles, try on a pair of these instead.
23.Try Blackstrap Molasses
Blackstrap molasses is one of the oldest natural remedies for iron deficiency. Not only is blackstrap molasses full of iron, it is also high in folic acid and other B vitamins which are known to boost red blood cell production and help combat anemia.
24. Heal Your Digestive Tract
Iron is very hard for the body to digest and requires lots of hydrochloric acid to be processed. As previously mentioned, even with a perfectly healthy digestive tract, the human body still only absorbs less than 20% of the total bio-available iron from foods we eat. If your digestion becomes unbalanced, this number will drop significantly.
If you suffering from the anemia symptoms.And looking for the natural method to combat the problem? Try the above given super foods and lead a healthy life. Keep like and share this information with your family and friends.