Iron plays a very key role in producing hemoglobin, a protein that helps red blood cells to transport oxygen in the body. Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia.
Reasons for low levels of iron could be due to:
- Not getting enough iron in our food. This can happen especially in growing kids and teens, who needs lot of iron-mineral.
- Bleeding inside the body.
- If you have celiac disease.
- Heavy periods in Teens and Women.
When anemia develops due to deficiency or iron, you can have these common symptoms:
- Hair loss.
- Decreased Immunity.
- Feeling tired or exhausted very easily.
- Feel cranky.
- Frequent headaches.
- Look very pale.
- Trouble in concentrating or focussing.
- Shortness of breath.
- Growth is stunted in children.
- Pounding of heart.
- Craving for ice or dirt.
- Restless leg syndrome.
- Anxiety or feeling anxious.
Iron deficiency leads to Hypothyroidism, where it slows the thyroid functioning in our body.
There are two types of iron. Heme-iron and no-heme-iron. Heme-iron is found only in meat, fish and poultry. Non-heme-iron is found in plants, legumes and nuts. Heme iron can be absorbed more easily compared to non-heme iron. For strict vegetarians, it is very important to take foods that are high in Vitamin C (citrus fruits, red and yellow Bell peppers and tomatoes). Vitamin C helps greatly in absorption of iron.
Here is a list of Iron-rich dietary resources
- finger millet (Raagi)
- soy beans
- various beans (kidney beans, lima beans, black eye beans, pinto beans)
Note: For older people, overloading ourselves with too much iron can damage internal organs. Also, could increase the risk for diabetes and heart attack.
Iron-Rich Vegetarian recipes:
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For vegetarians, vrg.org is an excellent resource to know various food that are iron-rich.