Are you suffering from fatigue, tiredness, dizziness, lack of concentration, looking pale or getting soreness of mouth with cracks at the corners? If you have some or all these symptoms, you most likely have ‘Iron Deficiency Anemia.’Medindia’s Iron Intake Calculator
will help you find out how much iron you require daily in your diet to prevent anemia and you can also choose from the suggested list of iron rich foods.
The mineral Iron is an essential nutrient like other minerals such as zinc, sodium, potassium and magnesium. Iron is important for blood production and enables hemoglobin in red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body. Without enough iron, your body will have fewer and smaller red blood cells that are unable to carry enough oxygen leaving you with the above symptoms. Anemia will also result in decreased immunity making you more prone to infections.
Haem Iron foods
are found in animal-based food items, like red meat
. Haem iron is easily absorbed by the body. We absorb approximately 15-35% of the haem iron we eat. Non-Haem Iron foods
are found in plant-based foods like cereals
. In contrast to haem iron, our body doesn’t absorb non-haem iron as easily. Only 2 - 20% of non-haem iron is absorbed.
Important facts on iron deficiency anemia:
- Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 90 mg/day for adult men and 18 mg/day for teenage and adult females.
- A deficiency of iron limits oxygen delivery to cells, resulting in fatigue, poor work performance, and decreased immunity.
- Excess amounts of iron can result in toxicity and even death.
- Iron deficiency anaemia can affect the function of numerous organ systems. It is the final stage of iron deficiency.
- In United States approximately 16% of teenage girls aged 16-19 and 12% of women aged 20-49 are deficient in iron.
- Young children and pregnant women are at higher risk of iron deficiency because of rapid growth and higher iron needs.
- Adolescent girls and women of childbearing age are at risk due to menstruation.
- The most common tests for screening are Haemoglobin test and Haematocrit test.
Iron for pregnant women:Iron helps you to maintain a healthy immune system. You need extra iron for your growing baby and placenta, especially in the second and third trimesters. Pregnant women need 27 mg of iron per day. Iron-deficiency anemia during pregnancy is associated with preterm delivery, low birth weight, and infant mortality. To avoid these conditions you should take iron from plant foods, eat foods high in vitamin C for better iron absorption, like fruits and vegetables, or foods containing haem iron (from an animal) at the same meal. Remember that iron from non-haem foods is not taken up by the body as well as iron from animal foods. You need to eat more of these foods if they are your only iron source.