Low iron levels – is it a cause of concern? Well, yes! Iron is a vital mineral that is essential for several bodily functions.
One of them is transporting oxygen in the blood to various body parts. Iron deficiency occurs when there is insufficient iron in your blood. Such a condition can lead to unpleasant symptoms like dizziness and fatigue among many others.
Excessively low levels of iron in the blood can lead to iron-deficiency anaemia, which again can spell trouble for your body and may affect the quality of your life. Also, avoid having tea with meals or immediately before or after meals because tea is known to decrease the absorption of iron.
Effects of iron deficiency
Here is how low iron levels can affect your body –
1. Irregular or Rapid Heartbeat
When your body lacks iron, the heart is forced to send a greater amount of blood to compensate for the low oxygen amount. This can cause irregular or rapid heartbeat, possibly leading to heart failure.
2. Stunted Growth
Children and infants with severe iron deficiency may experience stunted growth or delayed development. They are also prone to illnesses and infections.
3. Pregnancy Complications
Deficiency of iron in would-be mothers can cause certain complications during or post-pregnancy. For example – in extreme cases, premature childbirth or abnormally low birth weight can be seen if the mother had an iron deficiency.
How can you deal with iron deficiency?
The best way to avoid the side effects of iron deficiency is to make healthy changes to your dietary plan. Eating a diet that is rich in iron can help improve low levels of iron in the blood and prevent its potential complications. Additionally, you should also focus on eating foods that contain vitamin C, as it enables the body to absorb iron.
Here are a few examples of iron-rich foods that you should include in your diet –
- Squash and pumpkin seeds
- Dry fruits like raisins
- Leafy greens – spinach, kale
- Dry cereals that are iron-fortified
Foods rich in essential vitamin C include –
- Fruits, like grapefruit, oranges, strawberries, guavas, kiwis, pineapples, papayas, mangoes and melons
- Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower
- Green and red bell peppers
- Brussels sprouts
- Lemon, gooseberry (amla)
Moreover, you might need to take iron supplements with your planned diet. Many pregnant women are advised to consume iron supplements as part of their prenatal care to prevent premature childbirth.
Keep in mind that it is important to monitor your iron levels from time to time if you have an iron deficiency. A serum ferritin test can tell if you have too little of this important mineral. Following a diet high in iron and vitamin C can help you fight the ill effects of iron deficiency.