Your body is a temple and it needs to be worshipped religiously with proper exercise, diet and healthy lifestyle habits. Although most of us are mindful about what we eat, breathe and live, life around us sometimes doesn’t sync harmoniously with our body. We may have made conscious choices regarding food, we may have started exercising regularly but somehow; blame it on stress or a hectic lifestyle, there are frequent bouts of dullness, tiredness, headaches, extreme fatigue or even poor appetite. What are these signs indicating?
Am I Iron Deficient?
Iron literally runs several bodily functions. This includes the production of hemoglobin and the molecules in the human blood that carry oxygen. Iron is also necessary to maintain healthy cells, nails, skin and hair. Iron deficiency causes anemia, a drop in the red blood cells, which enables them to carry oxygen (hemoglobin). As a result, iron deficiency anemia may leave you tired, irritable and short of breath. Are you experiencing any of these signs? Read on to know more symptoms that may hint towards iron deficiency.
One of the most common dietary deficiencies in the world is that of iron. Iron deficiencies are generally found in children and women in most cases. This condition is quite common in pregnant women. Women are at a higher risk of iron loss because of monthly menstruation blood loss, but it can occur in men too.
- Pale skin
- Irregular heartbeat
- Cold hands and feet
- Indigestion or irritable bowels
- Brittle nails
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Trouble with concentration
- Sexual dysfunction
- Strange cravings for ice, dirt or starch! (Yes, it’s a thing!)
Why Do Iron Levels Drop?
In women, the normal hemoglobin range is 12.0 to 15.5 grams of hemoglobin per deciliter of blood. On an average, a woman needs 18 mg of iron a day. The reason why women lose too much iron is either due to blood loss in menstruation, lack of iron in the diet, intestinal disorder such as celiac diseases or during pregnancy. In the beginning, drop in iron levels may go unnoticed. But soon enough the lethargy kicks in, the skin/hair start showing damaged changes and most other symptoms listed above. Eventually, the body is propelled into a state called anemia where the body lacks RBCs. While these are internal factors, stress is another reason for anemia to set in. The question here is whether stress and anemia are related and here’s how.
Stress Causing Anemia
Stress, in most cases, is a common explanation for most complications. Lifestyle habits and routines put a lot of pressure on women to have it all together at all times. Women, particularly pregnant ones, are warned to stay away from stress and stress-causing situations during pregnancy.
Anxiety, hyperventilation, and even panic disorders are the reactions that your body produces against stress. When we are under stress, it affects the vitamin metabolism and uses up magnesium. Excess of stress also hinders manufacturing process of hydrochloric acid in the body, which is very important for integration of iron and proteins. A little stress is good for you to keep you on track of your goals but any excess amount leads to anemia.
Overcoming Iron Deficiency
Lady, no stress! The solution to iron deficiency is not a single intervention but a collaboration of diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes can easily help cope with conditions such as anemia. You can easily include iron in your diet with regular intake of eggs, bananas, tofu, broccoli, beetroot, walnuts, spinach, pomegranate, red meat, figs, tomatoes and lentils. Eat Vitamin-C rich foods along with high-iron foods for best absorption of iron into your body. Avoid drinking tea and coffee at the same time as you eat your iron fortified meals while they impair the absorption of iron into your body. Get out in the sun during sunrise and stretch out with Suryanamaskars.
Iron deficiency is a common nutritional problem, so there is no need to be overwhelmed. Try these simple solutions to tackle and alleviate your body from deficiencies. Get in touch with a good nutritionist to get your body levels checked and if needed, start supplements. Battling iron deficiency is simpler than you think!