It’s very common for women to have problems with their iron level (especially because of the periods, which causes an important loss of blood… and therefore a loss of iron with it; or a pregnancy).
I am one of them, unfortunately. One day, I went to a blood donation day and the doctors there refused to allow me to give my blood. They told me to go to the doctor as soon as possible as my iron level was really too low (way below the minimum required).
Their worried faces worried me a lot! Until I get to finally see my doctor. After a blood test and a consultation with my doctor, I received some iron food complements to add to my menu and I had to try to add some iron-rich foods to my menu.
Basically, if the iron level in your blood goes low, you will start to notice some symptoms. You will find a few examples of symptoms that you can start to notice in such cases below.
Symptoms of a low iron level
The list of symptoms is the following:
– Lack of energy
– Feeling tired or dizzy
– Easily getting out of breath during an effort
– Pale skin
– Cold feet/hands
– Insomnia (in case your iron level is really low)
If you have any of the symptoms above, you should see a GP and do a blood test to confirm it. Your GP will then be able to give you some advice on food complements if needed.
However, your iron level depends also on what you eat. Ideally, try to adapt your daily/weekly menu with some of the foods from the below list.
Iron-rich foods to add to your menu
Here is an exhaustive list of iron-rich foods that are easy to find and to add to your meals:
1. Beef (also rich in proteins and vitamin B12)
2. Lentils (also rich in fibers and proteins)
3. Spinach (rich in magnesium)
4. Black Beans (rich in proteins, fibers and magnesium)
5. Pistachios (also rich in copper, magnesium and proteins)
6. Cereals (ideally fortified cereals, also rich in vitamin B12)
7. Nuts (rich in omega-3 and potassium)
8. Pumpkin seeds (easy to add to a salad for instance, also rich in fibers, proteins; magnesium)
9. Whole grains (Bread, pasta, rice, oats, also rich in fibers)
10. Dark chocolate (rich in iron, magnesium and fibers)
This list of iron-rich foods is, as mentioned before, not exhaustive and can be completed. Depending on your taste, you can also add liver, broccoli, spirulina, shellfish (oysters, mussels…), etc.
If you can add fruits or juice (rich in vitamin C) when eating your iron-rich foods, even better! The vitamin C helps your body to absorb the iron. On the contrary, black & green tea, coffee or milk are interfering with the iron absorption process and should be therefore avoided or reduced.
Which other iron-rich food do you like?
Good luck in your iron quest!!!