Iron is one of the many essential nutrients that are needed by your body. Iron is responsible for transporting oxygen from your lungs to the various tissues in your body. It also plays a crucial role in the formation of red blood cells, helps in building blood vessels, synthesis of DNA and the transport of electrons. Iron deficiency causes a number of conditions including anaemia. Iron deficiency is usually more common in women than men because women lose blood every month during menstruation. It is therefore especially important for women to up their iron intake. When you lack iron, you start noticing common symptoms like weakness and fatigue, paleness of skin, brittle nails, cold hands and feet, among other signs.
It is easy to up your iron intake when you include some iron-rich foods in your daily diet. There are two dietary sources of iron: heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron sources are derived from animal protein. Heme iron is better absorbed by the body. Non-heme iron consists of plant sources.
Your iron intake will increase not only when you have more or iron-rich foods but also when you cut down on certain foods like tea and coffee which interfere with iron absorption.
Here is what you need to eat more of if you want to beat iron deficiency:
Some of the best sources of non-heme iron are green leafy vegetables like spinach which also has folic acid and beta-carotene. Beetroot, soya bean, kidney beans, pumpkin seeds, fresh fruits, dry fruits etc are excellent sources of iron.
Some of the best sources of heme iron are red meat, seafood and poultry. You must make sure that you eat plenty of organs like liver which have high iron content.
When consuming iron, it is important to note that vitamin C helps your body absorb iron. So, when eating vegetables or meat that’s rich in iron, you must also make it a point to include lemon or any other source of vitamin c in your meal.