According to the WHO, iron deficiency affects 20 to 25% of the world's population. Iron deficiency anemia (caused by a lack of iron) is the most important type of anemia, and women are the most affected. In the United States, it is estimated that 5% of women (1 in 20 women) lack iron and therefore suffer from anemia. The percentage is certainly similar in Canada.
This situation is therefore more frequent than we might think, and a lack of iron has several negative consequences on our health. Here are a few:
- decreased immune function;
- lower resistance to infections;
- decreased cognitive performance;
- a decrease in our working capacity;
- increased risk of preterm births;
- a decrease in our thermoregulatory performance;
- a decrease in our energy metabolism.
Of course, these consequences on our body can manifest themselves with several symptoms, such as:
- pale or yellowish skin;
- an irregular heartbeat;
- shortness of breath;
- cold hands and feet;
- as well as headaches.
These symptoms gradually appear depending on your level of iron deficiency. The more you lack iron, the appearance of symptoms will increase.
The solution to this type of anemia is simple: you need to increase your iron intake and you need to make sure that the iron will be absorbed by your body. Here are a few ways to get there.
In our diet, there are two sources of iron: hematic iron (which comes from meat and fish) and non-hematic iron (which comes from plant sources). Hematic iron is more easily absorbed. Here are four tips for optimizing your iron intake and absorption:
- choose hematic iron sources such as meat as this type of iron is more easily absorbed.
- choose red meats because they are richer in iron.
- make sure you have sources of vitamin C during your meals as it improves the absorption of iron that is present in vegetable sources. Vitamin C can double its absorption. For example, drink apple juice, eat fresh fruit or vitamin C-rich vegetables such as peppers and broccoli.
- avoid tea during meals as its tannins reduce iron absorption by 70%. Have your tea 1 to 2 hours before or after meals.
Taking an iron supplement is advantageous as you can know that you are always getting the same dose every day. In comparison, it is not easy to know the amount of iron contained in each of our meals. Taking an iron supplement is therefore a great complementary way to improve your diet.
Choose iron supplements in liquid form. They will be more easily absorbed, and unlike capsules or tablets, they will not cause constipation. Make sure your supplement contains vitamin B12 and vitamin C. They will give you better results. Land Art offers two iron supplements. A 250ml bottle and a 500ml.
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By Nicolas Martineau