Nutrition for Iron Deficiency Anemia
Iron deficiency anemia is one of the common types of anemia worldwide. It happens when we don’t have enough iron to make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the blood protein that carries oxygen to the rest of the body. Most people with iron deficiency anemia don’t experience any symptoms unless their anemia is severe.
The symptoms include, pale skin, tiredness, headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, fast heartbeat, sore tongue, restless legs syndrome, and cold hand and feet.
· Iron deficiency anemia causes:
Low iron in your diet: not eating foods high in iron for a long time will cause iron deficiency anemia.
Bleeding: blood loss during menstruation or other abdominal bleeding like, stomach ulcers, colon cancer, or other issues can lead to iron deficiency anemia.
Mal-absorption: this can occur when a person had a bypass surgery or suffers from celiac disease, where their small intestine can’t absorb nutrients from food.
Pregnancy: pregnant women need to take iron supplement to nourish the fetus, or otherwise she will be deficient.
· Who’s at risk?
- Breastfed babies up to one year old have high risk if they don’t get iron supplements, this’s because breast milk lacks iron. Also babies between the age 1-2 especially if they consume cow’s milk, this’s because cow’s milk is low in iron.
- Vegetarian and vegans are also at risk, due to the low iron intake.
- Donating blood frequently.
- Women with heavy periods.
· High iron foods:
- Red meat, liver, poultry and fish.
- Green leafy vegetables.
- Dried fruits.
- Chickpeas, lentils and black beans.
- Iron fortified grains.
Because Vitamin C can improve the absorption of iron in the body, you can consume high Vitamin C foods with iron. High Vitamin C foods include citrus, broccoli, berries, melons, pineapple, leafy greens, tomatoes, papaya, grapefruit, and kiwi.
Iron deficiency anemia is curable; you can prevent and treat it with adding high iron foods to your diet. Iron supplement is needed if you have severe deficiency, and also nutrition is important in that case.
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Nhlbi.nih.gov. (2019). Iron-Deficiency Anemia | National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).
WebMD. (2019). What Is Iron Deficiency Anemia?.