For me it started in my early teenage years! Iron deficiency has been an ongoing problem for me. In addition to being a woman, I do not eat red meat which does not help my case. I have accepted the fact that I will always have to take an Iron supplement!
Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world. Approximately 2 billion people, more than 30% of the world’s population suffer from iron deficiency anemia.
Iron plays a key role in the body’s use of energy and is needed for transporting oxygen. It also aids in brain development and and is required for the immune system to function properly. Iron is needed for optimal brain and nervous system development and can cause learning and behavioral problems in iron deficient children
The body’s need for iron determines how readily it is absorbed, transported and stored. The more iron the body needs, the more readily it will be absorbed. In the case of excess, iron will be stored as ferritin. The healthier your gastrointestinal tract the more iron will be absorbed. Pregnancy causes an increase in iron uptake.
Men absorb approximately 6% of dietary iron and non-pregnant women absorb approximately 13%. Women lose iron each month during menstruation and therefore have a higher absorption rate. People who are deficient in iron also have higher rates of absorption.
Iron in Our Food
Food contains two types of iron, heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is found only in animal tissue and is much more absorbable. Non-heme iron is found in plant based foods and is harder to absorb by the body. It is important for vegetarians to know that vitamin C aids in the absorption of non-heme iron. The vitamin C must be present with the iron meal or supplement. For example, taking an iron pill with a glass of orange juice aids in absorption. Conversely, calcium inhibits iron absorption, so do not take iron pills with a glass of milk. Additionally, certain component of grains and legumes also affect iron absorption. My recommendation is, if are taking an iron and a calcium supplement, take them separately. Take your iron in the morning with a glass of orange juice and your calcium at bed time with a glass of water or milk with no other food.
100% all natural cold press juice. Filled with iron absorbing Vitamin C. Made from the juices of 1 pineapple, 3 mangoes, 2 oranges and a small piece of ginger.
Plant Based Sources of Iron
- Cream of wheat cereal – 1 cup – 251g.
- Lentils, cooked – 1 cup – 198g.
- Spinach, cooked – 1 cup – 180g
- Kidney beans, cooked – 1 cup – 177g
- Chickpeas, cooked – 1 cup – 168g
- Baked beans – 1 cup – 254g
- Beets, canned – 1 cup – 170g
- Collard greens, cooked – 1 cup – 190g
- Potato, baked with skin – 1 potato – 202g
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