8 Foods Your Body Needs if You Think You Might Be Lacking Iron
Photography by Michal Grosicki/Unsplash
Your body needs this important mineral
When it comes to supplements, iron supplementation should not be done as self-medication and should always only be done on the advice of a doctor after a blood test, who will prescribe the most suitable supplement. Iron supplements can be dangerous for your health if taken in high doses and under certain conditions. In addition, many people may experience various gastrointestinal side effects when taking the mineral supplement such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea and stomach distress.
Your Diet Can Help
Iron-deficiency anaemia commonly affects women and the low levels of the mineral can lead to symptoms like lethargy and constant tiredness. This condition is diagnosed by a simple blood test and is treated with a combination of an iron-rich diet and supplements.
Iron absorption is influenced by many factors, including the form of the mineral that is ingested. One form, called heme iron, found in animal sources, is highly available for absorption. On the other hand, non-heme iron, found in vegetable sources, is less available.
Boost your intake by making smart food choices…
Good sources of heme iron are:
— Mussels and oysters
— Beef, turkey, sardines and lamb
Good sources of non-heme iron:
— Enriched breakfast cereals
— Cooked beans and lentils
— Baked potato with skin
— Pumpkin seeds, dried fruit and nuts
Other tips to increase your mineral intake:
Non-heme iron absorption is improved if it’s eaten with a heme-iron food in the same meal.
Some foods enhance the absorption of non-heme iron, including: meat/fish/poultry; fruits high in vitamin C (oranges, orange Juice, strawberries, grapefruit, spanspek, kiwi); some vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, tomato, tomato juice, green and red peppers) and potato.
Some foods can also inhibit or interfere iron absorption, including: red wine, coffee, tea, some vegetables (sweet potato, spinach, rhubarb), whole grains and bran and soya products. Try to avoid the iron-inhibiting foods and iron-rich foods in the same meal.