Iron deficiency is a serious health problem, which leads to fatigue and exhaustion. Iron is a nutrient, and an extremely important mineral of our body, as it transports oxygen throughout our body. Fortis Hospital Mulund, director of Hematology and BMT department, Dr Subhaprakash Sanyal in a conversation with The Indian Express, stated that iron is an important component of hemoglobin, the substance which carries oxygen from the lungs and transports it throughout your body. According to the expert, Hemoglobin represents two-thirds of the body’s iron, and a lack of red blood cells is called iron deficiency anemia.
Some symptoms of Iron deficiency
- Fatigue or weakness
- Pale or yellow skin
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness, or headaches
- Irregular heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Cold feet and hands
- Cracked nails, spoon-shaped nails
- Hair loss
- Cracks on the side of your mouth
- Pica (cravings for dirt, starch, clay, or ice)
- Sore and swollen tongue
- Restless legs syndrome
HOW MUCH IRON DOES ONE NEED?
As per the expert, the need for iron depends on an individual’s age, gender, and overall health. Infants and toddlers need more iron as compared to adults, because their bodies are growing quickly. The doctor said in childhood, boys and girls need the same amount — 10 milligrams of iron (Daily) from ages 4 to 8, and 8 mg (daily) from ages 9 to 13. He explained that women need more iron as they lose blood each month. Hence, females from ages 19 to 50 need to get 18 mg of iron each day, while men the same age can do just 8 mg.
- You can consume iron, either from dietary sources or from an iron supplement, in case you are pregnant or are breastfeeding.
- Have kidney failure (if you are undergoing dialysis, as it removes iron from body).
- Have an ulcer because it causes blood loss.
- Have a gastrointestinal disorder that prevents the body from absorbing iron.
- Taking too many antacids, it also prevents the body from absorbing iron.
- Have had weight loss (bariatric) surgery.
- Work out a lot as intense exercise destroys red blood cells.
- If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you will have to take an iron supplement, as the body doesn’t absorb the type of iron found in plants as well as it absorbs the iron from meat.
FOODS RICH IN IRON INCLUDE:
- Meat like lamb, pork, liver, chicken, turkey.
- Legumes (lentils, dried peas, beans.)
- Vegetables (spinach, broccoli, green peas).
- Food items like eggs, fish, grains, and cereals.