If you feel weak or tired, if your skin is pale or yellowish, your hands and feet are cold, if you have an irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, if you get dizzy or lightheaded, this may be a sign that your blood iron level is too low. All of the above are the symptoms of iron deficiency. These symptoms are common for some other conditions, so the best and easiest way is to do a blood test, check the result with your doctor and follow the recommendation.
What is Iron Deficiency?
Iron deficiency is one of the causes of anemia. Anemia is a lack of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin is a metalloprotein that contains iron (Fe) and is found in red blood cells. Both red blood cells and hemoglobin are very important because they carry oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. This means that low iron deficiency results in low oxygen levels in the cells and this can cause the development of other conditions such as low energy, malabsorption, infections, tissue damage, heart or brain damage, cancer and more.
For people who have iron deficiency anemia the fastest way to increase iron levels is taking iron orally, or intravenously along with vitamin C to help absorb iron. The main causes of anemia include blood loss, lack of red blood cell production, and high rates of blood cell destruction and treatment depending on the cause. One of the main causes of iron deficiency includes not getting enough iron in your diet. Therefore, even if you are not anemic it is good to think about your diet and look for healthier ways to prevent or treat iron deficiency.
Good sources of iron include:
- Red meat, pork and poultry
- Fish and seafood
- Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, beetroot leaves
- Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots
- Iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas.
- Seeds such as sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
- Juices like prune juice, beetroot juice, pumpkin juice and spinach juice
Foods to avoid:
- Tea and coffee
- Foods that contain tannins, such as grapes, corn, and sorghum
- Milk and some dairy products
- Foods that contain phytates or phytic acid, such as brown rice and whole-grain wheat products, some cereals, soy, some nuts and legumes (Even small amount of phytate can significantly decrease iron absorption)
- Foods that contain oxalic acid, such as peanuts, parsley, and chocolate
Eating more foods with vitamin C helps your body absorb iron. Another important cause of anemia is constant stress. Excessive stress interferes with the production of hydrochloric acid in your body, which is very important for the integration of iron and proteins. Iron deficiency is equivalent to hemoglobin deficiency, and thus anemia.
Therefore, in addition to modifying your diet it is important to decrease the stress levels in your everyday life. The best way to do this includes:
- Live in the present moment: don’t reflect on bad things from the past – you can’t change them, nor worry about what you think might happen in the future – because it may never happen.
- Take a walk outside in nature, if the weather allows, take off your shoes and you will get multiple benefits for your physical and mental health.
- Smile to yourself and the world around you – even fake, a smile always brings positive response in the body.
- Talk to the trees and hug them, because trees have a lot energy that they can give you, or take away your negative energy.
- Enjoy the blue sky and the sun that gives life to all.
- Be grateful for all that surrounds you, for all you have and for all that you pray for, as it is already given to you.
Make little changes, step by step and you will easily get used to the new routine, start feeling better, start changing your views and attitude, changing values and this will make you a completely new person – happier and healthier.
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➥ DISCLAIMER: This post is not intended to replace medical treatment. The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.