If you are a female, you would of heard how it is important for us to eat iron because of our periods but do you know why else iron is important?
+ FUNCTIONS +
🩸 70% of iron is found in your red blood cells
🩸 Iron transports oxygen around the body to your cells to produce energy
🩸 Iron is found in your muscles as myoglobin, which stores, transports and releases oxygen from your muscles
🩸 Iron boosts your immune system
🩸 Iron is used in enzymes that help with energy production, collagen formation, neurotransmitters and more
+ DEFICIENCY +
About one third of the world is iron deficient, with menstruating women at a greater risk due to blood loss with their periods. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, vegetarians/vegans, people with a poor diet, inflammatory gut conditions and athletes are all at a greater risk for deficiency.
Low iron could be caused by not enough iron in your diet, blood loss due to menstruation/pregnancy/GIT disorders/stomach ulcers/overuse of aspirin and inability to absorb iron due to intestinal issues or poor diet.
Signs of iron deficiency anaemia:
- Pale skin
- Dizziness or shortness of breath
- Strange cravings (non food items)
- Cold hands / feet
- Tingling legs at night
- Brittle nails
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
+ EXCESS +
Too much iron can be toxic to the body causing organ damage so it is important to check your iron blood levels and be diagnosed with iron deficiency before taking iron supplements. Some people also may have a condition called heamochromatosis, where their body stores too much iron.
+ IRON SOURCES +
Best way to ensure you are getting enough iron is through your diet. There are two types of iron: haeme and non-haeme. Haeme sources are found in animal sources and is most easily absorbed by the body. If you are consuming a plant based diet, you can boost your iron intake by cooking your foods to increase the amount of non-haeme iron in your plant foods or partner them with Vitamin C rich foods to increase absorption.
Food and drinks such as soy, tea, coffee, wine, whole grains and calcium rich foods can impact absorption of iron so it is best to keep these foods away from iron rich meals for at least 2 hours.