Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States, especially among young women.Iron is essential to making hemoglobin, a part of red blood cells that transports oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout our body.When our bodies do not receive enough iron, it becomes iron deficient and our red blood cells can no longer properly carry oxygen.Symptoms of iron deficiency include fatigue, pale skin, weakness, headache and dizziness.
Many people become iron deficient after becoming a vegetarian because the body absorbs more iron from animal sources than from plant sources.However, it is still possible to get enough iron in your diet from plant sources especially if you include Vitamin C, as it helps with absorption.Some of the best plant sources include beans, dark leafy greens, fortified cereals, and whole grain and enriched breads.If you are not a vegetarian, the best animal sources for iron include lean beef, chicken, turkey, fish, and lean pork.
For better absorption, include Vitamin C sources with iron sources such as:
-fortified cereal with berries
-lean ground meat with tomato
- spinach with lemon juice
-beans in a salad with kale and bell peppers
-lean pork with pineapple
To avoid iron deficiency, make sure you are eating a well balanced diet and try some of the tips above.To learn more about iron deficiency, visit EatRight.