Avoid irritability, just add iron
Common signs of not having enough iron sources in your diet include a lack of energy, dizziness, and irritability. During the holiday season these three symptoms occur often.
Iron is an essential part of daily intake. It is found in every cell in the body. Iron is used to make oxygen carrying proteins.
Without enough iron, the body suffers. People around a person who is low in iron suffer too. Before getting irritated with someone who is always tired and sometimes dizzy, consider that their body may be low in iron.
The amount of iron a body needs depends upon both age and gender. Teenage boys between 14 and 18 years old need at least 11 milligrams every day. Beyond the age of 18, the need drops to 8 milligrams a day.
A woman’s iron need is a bit more complicated. Before the teenage years, a child’s need is 8 milligrams. Between 13 and 19 a girl’s requirement for iron jumps to 15 milligrams a day and until the age of 50, this need increases to 18 milligrams daily.
After 50 years old, a woman’s requirement drops back to just 8 milligrams a day. Pregnant and breastfeeding women may need more as prescribed by their physician.
Sources of dietary iron are abundant. Red meat is not the only food that is high in iron. Some seafood also contain this mineral. Folks who consume a plant-based diet need to pay attention to foods containing iron and make sure that they get enough or they may get cranky.
Whole grains including wheat, oats and brown rice are iron pumping foods. Egg yolks, molasses and dried fruit, such as raisins, apricots and prunes are packed with iron. Mix these foods together and an oatmeal raisin cookie made with iron rich molasses may be just what the doctor ordered. Baking these cookies may not only lift the spirit of someone who has recently had surgery but these iron clad treats will boost their blood level as well.
Green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, kale, asparagus, collards and dandelion greens can increase the level in a person’s blood. Iron fortified cereals and dried beans also increase this much needed mineral in a person’s diet.
There are some foods that affect the absorption of iron. Citrus foods and juices assist the absorption of iron while high calcium foods and milk inhibit iron uptake. Take an iron supplement two hours before or after drinking milk.
Anemia is the result of not enough iron in the body. As mentioned previously, being tired and dizzy are two major symptoms of anemia. Irritability is another sign of possible low iron stores. During the holiday season remember to eat a balanced diet with plenty of iron rich foods to keep the season sunny and bright.
Iron is a strong metal. It is vital for life. The red blood cells that carry oxygen and nutrients throughout the body depend upon iron to do their job. The Salvation Army is like iron, a strong group that supports life. If you have not yet volunteered to ring the bells this holiday season, it is not too late.
Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator, registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a diabetes self-management training program at Dunlap Community Hospital, Orrville. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330–684-4776.