Iron is an essential element found in every living organism including humans. Hemoglobin, a kind of protein that contains iron, causes the color of the blood. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for iron depends on one’s gender, age, health condition, and source of dietary iron. Babies may need iron supplements if they are not breastfed, while pregnant women are advised to increase their iron intake since they are at risk of having low iron levels. At any rate, learning how to increase iron levels is important.
Iron deficiency can cause iron deficiency anemia especially in pre-menopausal women and children. Common causes of anemia include: chronic bleeding, too much menstrual bleeding, bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, laryngological bleeding, inadequate iron intake, malabsorption syndrome, intake of substances that interfere with iron absorption, and blood donations. Other than anemia, continued iron deficiency can result in extreme fatigue, elevated platelet count, or thrombocytes.
Once you are exposed to any or some of these causes, there is a need to increase your iron levels to avoid the possible health consequences. Read below for the applicable health tips:
Consume iron-rich foods. Mild iron deficiency can be corrected by eating a wide range of foods rich in iron. The top sources of iron include: poultry, meat, lentils, beans, green, leafy vegetables, tofu, pistachios, fortified bread, and fortified morning cereals. It is recommended that you consume more meat since its iron content is more easily broken down and easily absorbed by the body compared to the iron in vegetables and grains.
Since iron in vegetables is less absorbed by the body, vegans and vegetarians are advised to increase their iron intake more than those individuals who consume fish, meat, and poultry products. Legumes, kale, broccoli, Oriental greens, and other dark green vegetables are good choices for vegans.
Take vitamin C. Eating foods rich in vitamin C is highly recommend to boost iron absorption. This means that the ability of the body to utilize much of the iron from foods is enhanced. Fresh grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and orange slices are the most popular choices. Ideally, you should consume foods rich in vitamin C while eating your iron-rich meal, especially vegetables. Also, Bok Choy has vitamin C and iron making it a top pick in increasing iron levels.
According to irondisorders.org, ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, found in citrus fruits enhances nutrients absorption such as iron. As to its effects in iron absorption, taking at least 100 mg. of ascorbic acid helps the body’s level of absorption 4 times higher.
Know what to avoid. While increasing your iron intake, limit your intake of foods that contain phytic acid and oxalates such as Swiss chard and spinach. These two minerals are insoluble complexes that bind iron before it is absorbed. In effect, iron becomes almost unavailable to absorb.
A number of foods including: rhubarb, chocolate, tea, red wine, and soft drinks have been shown to interfere with iron absorption. Too much calcium, zinc, and manganese must also be avoided. In like manner, quit smoking. Cigarette smoking decreases vitamin C in your body, and vitamins C aids the body in absorbing iron.
Take iron supplements. For individuals who find it uncomfortable eating more vegetables and other iron-rich dishes, taking iron supplements is a good alternative. Common choices include: ferrous gluconate, ferrous sulfate, and amino acid chelate tablets. Old people suffering from an iron deficiency are advised to take at least 15 mg. of iron in a supplement per day.
These tips on how to increase iron levels are very important since sufficient iron is needed to transport oxygen from the lungs to the different tissues. There are a number of symptoms that indicate iron deficiency anemia including: fatigue, pallor, hair loss, weakness, irritability, grooved nails, Plummer-Vinson syndrome, impaired immune function, and restless legs syndrome. According to livestrong.com, your body stores very little iron. If you crave nutritious foods every time you are weak or feeling tired, you need to increase your iron intake. Any time you experience any or some of these symptoms, refer immediately to this article.