Iron is an important nutrient and is a vital component of haemoglobin that is the oxygen-carrying molecules in your red blood cells. In the absence of sufficient iron, the red blood cells find it difficult to transport oxygen to the cells and muscles throughout the body. This in turn causes weakness, fatigue, irritability and pale skin. Anaemia is a medical condition caused due to deficiency of iron in the body. According to the facts published by World Health Organization (WHO) nearly 80% of people all over the world have insufficient iron whereas 30% of the total population are anaemic. If the level of iron in your body is very low, read on to find the effective means that will help to increase iron levels in your blood.
Have Plenty Of Iron-rich Food Sources
This is the most natural and effective way to increase iron levels in your blood. Iron can only be absorbed in the body through dietary sources so start eating plenty of them. Foods that are extremely rich in iron include red meat, egg yolks, dried fruits especially prunes and raisins, chicken giblets or turkey, liver, beans, lentils, artichokes, mollusks, fortified grain products and green leafy vegetables. Animal protein in particular is extremely good source of iron, therefore increase their intake on regular basis to increase iron levels in the blood.
Aid Iron Absorption In The Body
Complement your iron-rich diet with good intake of Vitamin C. The presence of Vitamin C aids in better absorption of iron in your intestine and thereby assists in increasing iron levels in the blood. There are two dietary forms of iron, namely heme and non-heme. Heme iron is derived from haemoglobin present in red blood cells so it is only obtained by consuming animal products. Non-heme on the other hand has a different structure and is obtained from plant sources. It is known fact that absorption of heme iron is 2-3 times more efficient than that of non-heme iron. Therefore consuming heme iron food sources together with non-heme iron sources can considerably improve the absorption of non-heme iron in the body. These parameters also help in increasing the iron content in your blood naturally.
Avoid Factors That Decrease Iron Absorption
When you are enriching your diet with iron-rich foods try and avoid eating food sources that have high content of components that adversely affect the absorption of iron into the blood. The components, which decrease iron absorption are soy proteins, calcium, phytates present in legumes and whole grains, fibers, phosphates in cola and tannins present in tea. The foods rich in these compounds can however be eaten at other times.
Take Iron Supplements
The requirement of iron in the body varies at different stages and is also different for men and women. Young children, adolescents, pregnant women and menstruating women require higher levels on iron in the blood. If you are unable to derive enough iron from your food, it is suggested to take iron supplements after consulting your doctor. Depending on your individual body requirement the doctor will suggest the dose of the supplements. Remember that taking iron supplements can change your stool color to black, but it is very normal and nothing to be alarmed about.
Use Cast Iron For Cooking
It has been published in several food journals that use of cast-iron cooking pans and pots helps to increase the iron content of the food. Particularly foods that have organic acid content like lactic acid in creamy sauces or citric acid in tomato sauce passed most of the iron from the pan directly to the cooked foods. So if you need to increase your iron level, start using more of cast-iron pans in your every day cooking.
Iron plays a crucial part in different physiological processes. So to increase iron levels in your body naturally, eat a healthy diet with iron-rich foods and complement it with foods that aid optimal absorption.