Iron is a fundamental trace element for the formation of hemoglobin and red blood cells. Therefore, having the correct blood iron levels is vital for a healthy organism.
When iron levels fall in the blood, lack of oxygen in the tissues causes weakness, tiredness and diseases such as anemia. If your doctor has told you that you have iron deficiency, follow his instructions and, if the professional recommends it, follow these tips that we will share below.
1. Eat foods rich in iron
To maintain optimal blood iron levels, it is necessary to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.
The main cause of low blood iron is usually a poor diet. Being iron a mineral, we can find it naturally in food, both of animal origin, and of vegetable origin.
- Iron from the food of animal origin is the one that the body absorbs most easily. Its main source is meat (especially red ones).
- The iron obtained from plant foods is absorbed in a very low amount, although it is still a good idea to consume them. The best options are legumes, green leafy vegetables and nuts.
2. Increase your consumption of foods rich in vitamin C
For iron to be absorbed by the body, it must be transformed into ferritin. This process occurs by the action of gastric juice, containing hydrochloric acid and the presence of vitamin C. For this reason, it is necessary to include in the diet more acidic foods rich in vitamin C such as: lemon, orange, strawberries, broccoli and pepper.
Although vitamin C is of great importance for the immune system and for better absorption of iron in the body, it must be taken into account that its excessive intake causes folic acid deficiency. Ideally, you consume a maximum of two citrus fruits a day.
3. Moderate the consumption of iron-inhibiting foods
Just as there are foods that favor the increase of your iron levels in the blood, others avoid it. If your doctor has diagnosed you with anemia or an iron deficiency, avoid these foods:
- Egg. The phosvitin it contains prevents the body from absorbing iron of plant origin.
- Milk. The calcium contained in dairy products inhibits the absorption of iron of animal and plant origin when its consumption is greater than 300 mg per day.
- Tea. The oxalate that tea contains affects the absorption of iron of plant origin. It is not recommended to eat it with high iron foods.
- Cocoa and coffee Phenolic compounds containing cocoa and coffee inhibit the absorption of iron of plant origin.
- Walnuts Phytates that contain nuts and other seeds act as strong inhibitors and can reduce iron absorption by 50 to 65%.
4. Take iron supplements if you are pregnant or if your doctor tells you to.
If you are pregnant, it may be advisable to take iron supplements to meet your body’s energy demand and the iron needs of the fetus for proper development. Check with your doctor about this to find out what is best for you.
Depending on what the causes of your low blood iron levels are, check with your doctor before you start taking any supplements. This is because not in all cases it is necessary since not all supplements are suitable for all.
In case you have been diagnosed with iron deficiency a few months ago, and now discover that you are pregnant, tell your doctor to take this into account.
Possibly, the doctor will tell you to have a blood test. Once you have the results, he can tell you if you require more than just a diet adjustment.
5. Avoid eating large amounts of dietary fiber
The fiber diet has important functions in the body, it regulates your digestion, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and protects you from some chronic diseases such as colon neoplasia.
Although its consumption brings excellent benefits to the body, eating excess fiber is counterproductive when you have low levels of iron in your blood.
By its laxative action, iron passes faster through the digestive tract and its absorption is reduced; This means that iron is retained in feces and cannot be absorbed.
Salad to raise your iron levels
Although these tips are very simple to put into practice, you may not know where to start to increase your blood iron levels. In that case, we recommend you try this salad.
- 1 cup arugula (100 g).
- 1 cup spinach (100 g)
- Lean red beef (150 grams).
- 1 grapefruit in segments, without skin or seeds.
- Salt and freshly ground pepper (a pinch, to taste)
- Season the steak or piece of meat and roast it.
- Chop the roasted meat into small pieces so that they are easy to handle.
- In a bowl, combine meat, vegetables and grapefruit.
- Season with a little salt and freshly ground pepper and eat instantly.
The low consumption of iron-rich foods can lead to anemia, among other complications. However, it is not about incorporating, overnight, large quantities of this nutrient, but looking for ways to introduce it, more frequently, in a balanced way.
Remember to always take into account the doctor’s instructions, since he is the one who can best advise you on a matter of well-being. After all, he knows in detail what is most convenient according to your state of health.