Lack of iron often leads to anaemia, extreme fatigue and heart palpitations. Here's how you can fix it.
What makes iron one of the most important minerals is the fact that it carries oxygen through the body, apart from producing red blood cells. The recommended daily intake of this nutrient is 18 mg, and one can only get their dose from food.
A deficiency in iron manifests itself into various health symptoms that are best not ignored. The most common ones include being irritable and supremely fatigued, paleness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations and anaemia (a worrisome dip in haemoglobin).
Here are the symptoms to watch out for, and how to fix them.
1. Fix anaemia with iron-rich seeds and vitamin C
Anaemia is a condition in which the blood does not have enough healthy red blood cells, which means you have low levels of haemoglobin in your body. The most prevalent symptom of this condition is feeling incredibly tired and having heart palpitations.
A great way to fix this is by eating Vitamin C-rich foods together with foods rich in non-heme (plant-based) iron so that your body’s absorption of iron can go up by an average of 300 per cent.
So the next time you’re loading up on pumpkin and hemp seeds that are packed with iron, couple them with some fresh oranges for that much-needed Vitamin C boost.
2. Are you short on breath? Eat enough legumes
Another symptom of iron deficiency is shortness of breath, even while performing simple everyday activities. The best antidote would be to regularly incorporate lysine-rich foods such as legumes and quinoa into your diet. These foods are rich in the amino acid lysine and help increase iron absorption into the body.
Some of the most common varieties of legumes that you can try are adzuki beans, black beans, soybeans, chickpeas, kidney beans and lima beans.
3. For heart palpitations – iron skillets have got our backs!
For those experiencing heart palpitations, fret not! Along with tweaking your diet and introducing iron-rich foods, cooking in an iron utensil can be doubly effective. A flat, seasoned cast-iron skillet is a must-have in your kitchen because it imparts traces of iron to your food, and doesn’t come with the health risks of chemical-coated cookware.
What’s more it’s super easy to care for too, all you need to do is wash it with warm, soapy water.
4. Experiencing paleness or anaemia? Add green leafy vegetables to your diet
The face often loses colour when there’s a noticeable dip in the body’s iron content. To get the glow and blush back on your cheeks, remember to befriend the green veggies.
Leafy greens, such as spinach, collard and beet greens contain between 2.5–6.4 mg of iron per cooked cup, which is 14–36 per cent of the recommended dietary intake.
Interestingly, it’s 1.1 times more than what you get from the same amount of red meat, chicken or even salmon. Other greens to include in your diet are broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
5. Manage dry and damaged hair and skin with prunes and mulberries
From a poor or restrictive diet to heavy blood loss through periods or internal bleeding, inadequate iron in the body often shows on your hair and skin. A quick and easy way to get sufficient iron into your system is by eating fruits that are both tasty and healthy. And the ones that you should be totally rooting for are prunes, olives and mulberries.
Make this all-natural mulberry spread your best friend for the times hunger pangs creep up on you.
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Since the body cannot produce iron on its own, it is imperative that you pay extra attention to the iron-rich foods in your diet. You’ll notice a change in a few weeks; where you won’t be cranky, tired or sleepy all the time. On the contrary, you will have oodles of energy to power through your day!
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)