The poor and the aged are no longer the only ones being affected by iron-deficiency. Anemia is striking more often in our society-affecting people of all age groups. Iron-deficiency, anemia can be caused by blood loss, problems with your body’s absorption of iron, or not getting enough iron in your diet. Studies show that low iron levels can be very dangerous, and can lead to heart disease and even death, especially in older people.
Symptoms of low iron include fatigue, difficult breathing, weakness, headache, fainting spells, and depression. You might also notice paleness to the color of your skin, and nail beds. If left untreated or in later stages anemia can cause rapid pulse, irregular heart rate, and chest pain (if you ever feel chest pain head to the hospital A.S.A.P). Women with iron deficiency may also notice abnormal menstruation.
If your anemia is caused by too little iron in your diet, here are some ways to boost your iron naturally.
Eat some meat, a good rule of thumb is the darker the meat, the greater the iron content. Dark meats are also rich in vitamin B12 and zinc, important nutrients in preventing anemia.
No meat, not a problem, some good alternative sources are eggs, dairy products, grains, and legumes. If you like soy, try tofu or any number of other soy products. Dried fruits, nuts, and blackstrap molasses are also good sources of iron. Iron can also be found raisins, spinach, and broccoli, lima beans and green peas; dry beans and peas.
Greens, one of the best ways to make sure you get the iron you need is by eating your greens. While green leafy vegetables don’t contain much iron, they do contain a lot of folic acid and other nutrients. Folic acid plays a key role in helping your body absorb iron and the equally important vitamin B12.
Vitamin C, makes it easier for your body to absorb iron. It is so important, in fact, that lack of vitamin C can sometimes cause anemia. Some nutrition experts say you should get at least 500 milligrams of vitamin C every day. Ask your doctor what is best for you.
Getting enough iron won’t do much good unless you eat a healthy diet. Vitamin A, vitamin E, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), and copper are important for healthy blood. Food rich in these vitamins and minerals help your body hold on to the iron it gets. Liver, dark green vegetables, and dairy products are great sources of riboflavin and vitamin A, shellfish, nuts, and certain iron rich cereals, and legumes are good providers of copper and thiamin, and for extra vitamin E, try some wheat germ.
Drinks with iron, Grape juice, and pomegranate juice are all rich in iron. Teas made from dandelion, help in treating anemia.
Foods that decrease iron absorption
Coffee and black tea, it is better to drink them before you eat. Research shows that drinking these beverages during or after a meal reduces your body’s absorption of some types of iron, while drinking an hour before your meal does not. Drinking coffee or black tea does not affect iron absorption from meat, it does however, affect iron absorption from vegetable and dairy sources. It also reduces absorption from iron supplements.
Fiber, although it is a necessary part of everyone’s diet, eating too much fiber can lessen the amount of iron absorbed from other foods.
Antacids also present a problem if you are trying to boost iron. Doctors report that a lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach is a big cause of iron deficiency, especially as people get older. This acid helps the digestive system break down and absorb nutrients like iron.
Treatment for any type of anemia should focus on the underlining cause of the condition. Your doctor will be able to help find the cause of your Iron-deficiency, and recommend a therapy program that will work best for you.
This information is for informational purpose only and is not intended to replace the care or advice of a physician.