If you frequently experience fatigue, have brittle nails, and crave certain non-food items, the chances are high that you are iron deficient.
The body requires iron to make hemoglobin which allows red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.
“Iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies. You will experience fatigue, hair loss, brittle nails and even a craving for non-food items like chalk, uncooked rice, detergent,” Simrun Chopra, a nutritionist, wrote on Instagram, adding that “we are what we eat, digest and absorb.”
The expert further shared that there are two types of ironing – non-heme and heme.
“We get nonheme iron from vegetarian sources. This form is quite unstable and we can absorb around 2-20% depending on gut health and many dietary factors . However, heme iron, which we get from animal sources, has a higher absorption rate: 15 to 35%,” he shared.
According to her, the main causes of low iron absorption could be the following dietary factors:
*Drink caffeinated beverages with food: This includes tea, coffee, green tea, or anything that contains caffeine. The caffeine , tannins and polyphenols bind to iron, making it difficult to absorb.
“This is mostly seen with nonheme iron, which means vegetarians are at higher risk of iron deficiency,” he said, suggesting drinking tea or coffee between meals and having an hour gap between meals and caffeinated beverages. for better absorption of iron in the system.
*Do not add vitamin C to foods rich in iron. Adding vitamin C to meals helps absorb the iron present in our food.
* Digestive inability to absorb iron. This usually happens with people who have digestive disorders, intolerances and problems such as celiac disease .
In addition to the reasons above, the biggest factor for low iron is not having iron-rich foods, he said.
“Women who are pregnant or have heavy periods, children, and vegetarians/vegans are at higher risk for poor ironing ,” he wrote.
He recommended adding iron-fortified foods or a supplement, if you’re a vegetarian/vegan. “If you have an iron deficiency, then cut back on caffeine. Also, check your iron levels every 6 months to a year,” he suggested in his post.
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