Iron deficiency is the most common types of nutritional deficiency, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Iron deficiency it most often found in young children and women of child bearing age.
Mild iron deficiency may not have any symptoms, but if the deficiency gets worse you may experience a feeling of tiredness, lightheaded feeling , fuzzy thinking and other symptoms that affect functioning and the quality of life.
Iron deficiency in children can cause developmental delays and behavioral disturbances. In the past decades iron intake has been increased, thanks to iron enriched formulas.
Women of child bearing age have a particular risk for iron deficiency, due to blood loss associated with menstruation and pregnancy.
Iron deficiency anemia can be prevented by eating a well-balanced diet that includes foods that are good sources of iron. If more iron is needed and iron supplement can give you an added boost of the vital mineral
A baby’s diet can affect their risk of iron deficiency anemia. Cow’s milk is low in iron, so is not recommended for infants less than a year old. Talk to your child’s doctor for dietary recommendations. A doctor may recommend an iron enriched formula or iron drops .
Follow the doctor’s recommendations carefully, as too much iron can be dangerous for a child.
An iron rich diet can prevent iron deficiency anemia. Foods that are rich sources of iron include liver, meat, beans, spinach, beets, green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, raisins, prunes, fish, peanut butter and nuts.
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In addition to iron-rich food, the diet should include folate and folic acid. Isolates can be found in citrus juices, citrus fruits, bananas, dark green leafy vegetables, cereals, pasta, legumes, and fortified bread.
- Vitamin B-12 is an important nutrient found in meat and dairy products. Vitamin B-12 can also be found as a vitamin supplement.
- Vitamin C is an important nutritient that helps to increase absorption of iron from other foods. Food rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, melons and berries.
- Spinach is a good source of iron, but should be taken along with citrus, otherwise the iron will not be absorbed. Try sprinkling the spinach salad with the juice from a lemon, or add orange slices to the salad. You can also eat the citrus as a side dish along with the spinach.
Your doctor may recommend an iron supplement, which can usually be purchased over the counter. Iron supplements should be taken under doctor’s care because it is possible to take too much iron supplement.
Information in this article is not intended as medical advice. If you have a medical condition, please consult a physician.
- Centers for Disease Control
- Mayo Clinic website
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