1 in 5 women and half of all pregnant women are iron-deficient, the world’s most common nutrition problem!
Iron Deficiency Anaemia means there is insufficient iron in the body. The body needs iron in order to make haemoglobin, found in red blood cells, which transfers oxygen from the lungs to the cells of the body, where it is used to produce energy and give the skin its healthy colour.
The normal haemoglobin blood level in women is between 11.6-14.9g/dl. In case of Iron Deficiency Anaemia, the haemoglobin level is reduced, so the red blood cells cannot carry as much oxygen to body cells. This is likely to make you feel tired, weak and less able to perform to your full potential.
In addition to that, iron is a key nutrient for other functions of the body, including supporting a healthy immune system that will help protect you from infections.
What are the causes of Iron Deficiency Anaemia? The most common causes of Iron Deficiency Anaemia in women are; shortage of iron in the diet; and loss of blood during menstruation. Additionally, pregnancy can lead to Iron Deficiency Anaemia due to the increase in iron requirement for the foetus.
What are the symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anaemia? Pale skin, fatigue, weakness, irritability, shortness of breath, headache, and poor concentration may be caused by Iron Deficiency Anaemia. If you feel some of these symptoms, and if you are pregnant or lactating, consult your doctor about taking iron supplements.
How much iron do you need? The body is adaptive; when the iron stores in your body are low, you absorb more iron from the diet and on the other hand, you retain less when iron stores are higher.
The Daily Reference Intake or DRI for iron is 18mg in women aged 19 to 50. During pregnancy, the recommendation goes up to 27 mg/day, to account for the increase in blood volume.
How do you prevent Iron Deficiency Anaemia?
You can prevent Iron Deficiency Anaemia by eating foods rich in iron such as meat, legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas), green leafy vegetables (silk and spinach), eggs, whole grains (whole-wheat bread, brown rice, burghul) and iron-fortified foods (like breakfast cereals).