Have you felt shortness of breath and extreme tiredness lately? Are you finding it difficult to focus and are experiencing frequent headaches? Do you notice paler complexion and brittle nail that chips off easily?
Don’t blame it on your hectic schedule or demanding careers or dismiss these symptoms as part of life. The nutrient iron (or lack of it ) might be to blame, especially if you are a woman. Figures show that iron deficiency, known as anemia, is the most common nutritional deficiency among indian women and it is imperative that the daily requirement for iron is met through an iron rich balanced diet.
Let’s look closely at why iron is so critical for us, how much do we need and what are the best ways to add it to our diet.
Role of Iron
Iron is needed to create hemoglobin, the substance in our blood that is responsible for transporting oxygen to different parts of the body. If we don’t get enough iron, the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood cell and tissues don’t get sufficient oxygen and we experience constant fatigue and exhaustion. Lack of oxygen also adversely affects our mental function, Immune response, enzymatic action and the health of skin, hair and nails.
Image source: www.babycenter.in
Iron in Diet
The best source of heme (higbioavailablity) are chicken, liver and fish. The vegetarian non-heme dietary source includes dark leafy vegetables, broccoli, sweet potato, tofu, raisins, pistachio, lentils, rajma and black eyed pea and fortified cereals such as oats, bran and multigrain bread.
Adding protein (chana dal with palak) and vitamin c rich foods ( orange, amla, lemon) with iron source help in better absorption of iron.
Did You know?
Intake of caffeine, alcohol and calcium supplement within 1-2 hrs of your meal may inhibit iron absorption.
If you are anemic, make simple changes to your eating habits by including iron rich foods so that you start feeling energetic through the day.