As you might have read iron is a trace mineral and a pivotal nutrient that our bodies need for proper functioning. It gives you a stronger immunity, it emboldens cleansing, and boosts the formation of proteins and enzymes.

One protein that we can mention is hemoglobin which is used by the red blood cells for the transfer of oxygen throughout the whole body. When there is a low amount of iron in the body, severe health issues can appear.

You can find iron in both animal and plant foods. Heme-iron (animal sources) include meat, fish, and poultry.  Our bodies easily ingest this type of iron. Non-heme iron (plant sources) is included in dried beans, peas and lentils and some fruits and vegetables.

In Canada, grain compounds like flour, pasta, and breakfast cereals are enriched with iron.  Our bodies better absorb this type of iron when taken along with meat/chicken/fish or a source of vitamin C.

Iron Deficiency Anemia

This state develops when the body has insufficient amounts of iron, hemoglobin, or red blood cells for the transportation of necessary oxygen from the lungs to the tissues.

Anemia is diversified, but one type is the most persistent and more than 1.6 billion people all over the world are anemic, while several hundred suffer from iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency is often found in women because of the loss of blood during menstruation and pregnancy.

A woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding needs twice as much iron as men. Children who do not consume enough iron-rich foods are also at risk. Iron is essential because your body needs it to make the protein called hemoglobin.

Without hemoglobin, your red blood cells can’t carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Initially, iron deficiency anemia can be so mild that it goes unnoticed. But as the body displays more deficient in iron and anemia aggravates, the signs and symptoms increase.

Iron deficiency anemia signs and symptoms may include:

  • Extreme fatigue;
  • Weakness;
  • Brittle nails;
  • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat or shortness of breath;
  • Headaches, dizziness or lightheadedness;
  • Cold limbs;
  • Inflammation or soreness of your tongue;
  • Cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt or starch;
  • Pale skin;
  • Lack of appetite, especially in infants and children with iron deficiency anemia

Types of Iron

Heme iron

This sort of iron stem from animal food sources like seafood, meat, and poultry. Heme iron is more easily absorbed and is, therefore, a large source of dietary iron for people both with and without hemochromatosis.

Nonheme iron

This iron’s origin is from plants and it is not promptly-absorbable as it happens with heme iron. Anyway, this does not increase the number of iron deficiency cases in vegetarians and vegans. That is because plant diets are richer with vitamin C that raises the absorption of iron and because veggies are low in calories and rich in nutrients, supplying a higher amount of iron per calorie. I.e,  100 calories of spinach comprehend as much iron as 1700 calories of steak.

Foods Abundant in Iron

  • Sesame seeds;
  • Dried fruits;
  • Dark chocolate;
  • Pumpkin seeds;
  • Quinoa;
  • Spinach and other green leaved vegetables;
  • Whole grains;
  • Coconut;
  • Spirulina;
  • Green peas;
  • Dandelion greens;
  • Blackberries;
  • Blueberries;
  • Green peppers;
  • Curry leaves, etc.