If you’re feeling symptoms of fatigue, weakness, chest pain, headaches, inflammation, or cold feet and hands then go see your health professional immediately and ask to have your iron levels tested. These are all symptoms of low iron and not taking care of it immediately could eventually lead to heart problems or pregnancy problems. If it turns out that you do have low iron you wouldn’t be alone.
Having low iron isn’t an uncommon problem. In fact, it affects up to 25% of the world population. In addition to taking supplements, there are some other things you can do with your diet and lifestyle to help improve your iron levels.
It can be extremely frustrating to feel like all you’re doing is eating iron-rich foods and still having low iron. So have that spinach salad with some lemon water because vitamin C has been shown to effectively increase the absorption of iron sometimes up to 4x!
Even with a ton of Vitamin C alongside your iron-rich foods, you could still be low on iron. So maybe it’s time to see if any of your other favourite foods are actually inhibiting your body from absorbing the iron it needs? The calcium is found in foods such as milk, yogurt, cheese, sardines, canned salmon, broccoli, almonds, figs, turnip greens and rhubarb and is the only known substance to inhibit the absorption of both non-heme and heme iron.
Although iron has the highest iron-absorption rate of any iron-rich foods, you can find plenty of iron-rich plant-based foods to fill your plate with. Next time you’re at the grocery store, stock up on lentils, cashews, tofu, dark leafy greens, or any fortified foods like granola or cereal.
Looking for more information on healthy bones? Check out our article on the benefits of weightlifting next!