Iron deficiency anemia, as the name suggests, is a condition occurring due to deficiency of iron in the blood. Though this condition is fairly common in women, men too may fall prey to this disease.
Statistics reveal that around 20 percent of women, 50 percent of pregnant women, and 2 percent of men suffer from iron deficiency. An average male needs around 8mg of iron, and an average female requires around 18mg of iron, according to the Health Link British Columbia.
Iron, in general, plays the role of transportation of oxygen to various parts of the body through blood. A deficiency of iron in the blood could lead to weakness, fatigue and general lethargy, all of which are common symptoms of anemia.
"Iron is an essential nutrient, meaning that we must get it through our food choices. Nearly 80 percent of people don't get the daily iron requirement through their food choices, so it is important to be mindful when planning your meals," Ange Peters, personal trainer and holistic nutrition coach, London, explained. "Low iron levels can cause iron-deficiency-anemia which will show itself in various ways such as low energy, dizziness, pale skin and peeling nails.”
While anemia is not a life-threatening disease in general, chronic anemia is linked to heart failure, which is potentially fatal. An individual following a healthy diet is, in very rare cases, susceptible to iron deficiency anemia; however, given that the diet of most of us today is primarily composed of processed, packaged foods, the condition is affecting many around the world.
While popping a pill seems to be the easiest possible option for every health problem today, the best way to obtain iron without the adverse effects of tablets is through food.
Tackling iron deficiency anemia is surprisingly easy, and tasty too! Here we’ve listed down some of the best iron-rich foods, which when added to the diet, can help naturally boost the levels of iron in the blood, and prevent anemia. People with hyperthyroidism are often anemia; including foods rich in iron can help increase blood cell count.
Meat and Fish Sources- Beef, lamb, pork, poultry, prawns, salmon, tuna, chicken, haddock, turkey, mussels, oysters, clams, cuttlefish, perch, sardines, veal and ham are excellent meat sources of iron. Eggs are also a good breakfast choice for individuals prone to iron deficiency.
Keep in mind that you should stick to organic, fresh meats as opposed to processed and cured meats. Processing tends to strip foods of its natural nutritive value, which makes the food less likely to complete your nutritional requirements.
While most plant sources do contain adequate amounts of iron, it may not be completely absorbed by the body.
Nuts can be excellent iron-rich snacks for those hunger pangs when you crave for a cheesy burger or a spicy sandwich. Just grab a handful of nuts when you’re out shopping or feel a craving coming up-you’ll be ditching the unhealthy junk food, and adding iron to your blood!
Grains and Others- Beans like white beans, kidney beans, black beans, soybeans, lima beans, black-eyed peas and chickpeas are good sources of iron. Others include barley, rice, buckwheat, millet, oatmeal and quinoa. Dates and jaggery too are amazing natural sources of iron.
Adding more of these foods to your diet can help prevent iron deficiency anemia and other health problems linked to it. Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron; therefore it would be wise to eat foods containing vitamin C with the above.
Latest Publications and Research on Top Iron-Rich Foods
- Identification of two novel prenylated flavonoids in mulberry leaf and their bioactivities. - Published by PubMed
- Predictors of urinary and blood Metal(loid) concentrations among pregnant women in Northern Puerto Rico. - Published by PubMed
- Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplementation Reduces Child Anemia and Increases Micronutrient Status in Madagascar: A Multiarm Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial. - Published by PubMed
- Iron Packaging Regulations in the United States and Pediatric Morbidity: A Retrospective Cohort Study. - Published by PubMed
- Micronutrient Supplementation and Fortification Interventions on Health and Development Outcomes among Children Under-Five in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. - Published by PubMed