Health : Iron deficiency symptoms and natural treatment solutions
If you feel tired most of the time, have difficulty breathing, and have a high heart rate or look paler, it is probably that you are iron deficient. It is one of the most common nutritional and metabolic disorders. In many European countries, this syndrome is particularly common in young women. Without a doubt, the best recommendation that can be made if you have symptoms of anemia is to go to the doctor and get the necessary tests. A blood test will show if you have low iron intake or if it is another health problem. We therefore invite you to see your doctor and not to undertake a self-diagnosis at home without consulting a specialist.
Iron deficiency – symptoms and natural treatment solutions
If you know for sure that you have iron deficiency, then it is recommended to monitor your symptoms and enrich your diet with products rich in this nutrient. You can find a detailed list of foods rich in iron in the file we have dedicated specifically to this topic. Also know that there are food supplements that you can include in your diet that will help you alleviate the effects of a lack of iron. But one of the most natural and long-lasting ways to remedy this problem is to consume products rich in iron. This solution is recommended not only because it is natural and therefore gentler on the body, but also because it gives more lasting results.
Iron deficiency and food supplements
Knowing that we have a lack of iron, the first question we often ask ourselves is how many dietary supplement pills to take to solve the problem. But, before taking these drugs, you should consult your doctor, as the symptoms listed above can be characteristic of other conditions as well. It is therefore not a good idea to take food supplements to remedy this problem without specialist advice.
What foods contain iron?
Our bodies cannot produce iron on their own, they get it from what we eat, whether it’s foods that are naturally high in iron or foods fortified with iron. But the problem is, not all iron that gets into the stomach with food is absorbed in the same way. And the reasons for iron deficiency or lack can be many, and they are very different.
Iron deficiency is associated with problems with the immune system
Iron deficiency can cause anemia. In severe cases due to iron deficiency or lack of iron, there is a progressive condition in which the iron deposits are depleted and the intake of iron supplements is insufficient. With anemia, the level of hemoglobin in the blood will be lower than normal. A natural treatment option for this type of problem is to enrich your diet with products rich in iron.
How to increase your iron intake through your diet?
There are many foods rich in iron that you can include in your daily diet to increase your iron intake. Meat is a well-known source of iron, but those who have opted for a vegan or vegan diet should know that there are vegan iron-rich food options too. Several vegetables and certain fruits can be preferred in the daily menu of those who do not wish to eat meat.
Here are some options to remedy iron deficiency through your diet:
- Eat green leafy vegetables (kale, broccoli, sorrel, lettuce). These foods can be eaten fresh or steamed to take advantage of their nutritional value more fully.
- Eat or drink vitamin C
- Red meat is particularly rich in iron. It is important to know that the iron in meat is easily absorbed by the body, which is not the case with all foods.
You don’t eat meat? Be aware that there are other good sources of iron. These are mainly green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, and legumes like peas and lentils. But legumes and green vegetables give you less iron than red meat. Fermented breads and grains are also high in iron, although the body does not always absorb iron well from these foods.
Swap coffee for orange juice at breakfast time
The way these foods are cooked, as well as what you drink with your meals, affects the absorption of iron. This is indicated by studies and experiments conducted to see how the body absorbs iron simulating the process of digestion. Research shows that if you drink orange juice with a fermented cereal breakfast, your body can absorb more iron than if you had the same breakfast without orange juice. This is due to vitamin C, which helps absorb iron from food. If instead of juice you choose coffee for breakfast, your body will absorb much less iron than in the case of breakfast with orange juice or just without coffee!
Why is this happening? According to the study, coffee is rich in polyphenols, chemical compounds that join iron in food and make it less available to the body. In turn, this one has difficulty absorbing it. Therefore, if you choose fermented cereals or other iron rich foods for breakfast, then it is better to add fresh orange juice, it will help your organize to increase the level of absorption of the iron. You should also consider drinking your morning coffee at least half an hour after breakfast; then coffee polyphenols will not interfere with iron absorption.
How does insufficient or lack of iron affect the body?
In the case of iron deficiency conditions, there is limited transfer of oxygen to the cells of the body. These conditions are also associated with feelings of exhaustion and weakness. Iron deficiency is also linked to damage to the immune system. It can cause anemia.
Signs of iron deficiency
Here are some of the signs showing iron deficiency.
The overall decrease in immunity
If you often suffer from colds and flu regardless of the season, watch out for this indicator. Unfortunately, iron deficiency can cause your immune system to decline overall.
If there is not enough iron, the difficulty begins with transporting oxygen from the lungs to the cells. As a result, we feel chronic fatigue, dizziness, migraine but also constant apathy, distraction, decreased working capacity can be a consequence of iron deficiency.
One of the main symptoms of iron deficiency is a pale complexion of the face.
Problems with hair, skin, nails
In addition to the pale color of the face, people with iron deficiency have problems with dry saggy skin, brittle nails, hair loss and even early bleaching of hair.
Quick and easy fatigue
The amount of iron in the blood directly affects the overall physical activity of endurance. If you get dizzy during normal physical activity, you get tired quickly and feel your body sluggish, be careful – it may not be ordinary fatigue, but iron deficiency.
With iron deficiency anemia, the body begins to spend its own stores of this substance contained in the liver, bone marrow and, more importantly, already in muscle tissue. If after a walk or light physical exertion you feel strange tiredness, as if you have just been on a marathon, where you do not recover for a long time – it may be related to iron deficiency.
How to increase your iron intake from vegetables?
Fresh cabbage is a very good source of iron, but if you fry or boil it, the effect will be less noticeable. The point is, cabbage itself is rich in vitamin C, but when heated, especially if you cook cabbage, most of this vitamin is lost. The same processes occur during cooking and other thermal processes of several other green vegetables that contain iron and vitamin C. Examples of these foods are: broccoli and cauliflower.
However, there is one exception to this rule: spinach. In the end, boiled spinach turned out to retain 55% more iron than raw spinach. This means that the iron in these cooked vegetables will be better absorbed by the body. The point is, spinach contains a lot of oxalates, oxic acid salts that join the iron. When we boil spinach, the oxalates are released into the water and the iron in it becomes available to the body. For this reason, it is easier to absorb, explain the experts.
And the bread?
Research has enabled specialists to assert that the sourdough in bread also increases the daily intake of iron in the body. The point is, wheat contains phytic acid, which slows the absorption of iron. When making sourdough bread, fermentation processes neutralize the effect of phytic acid, so that the body absorbs iron better.