Iron deficiency is the most common form of anemia in the world. Especially in underdeveloped and developing countries, the rate of anemia due to iron deficiency is high. According to the World Health Organization data; If the hemoglobin values fall below 12 g / dl in women who are not pregnant, and 14 g / dl in men, it is called anemia. Hemoglobin is a protein that carries oxygen to the blood, which gives color to red blood cells. Iron is also an element that enters the basic structure of hemoglobin and is of great importance in the transfer of oxygen from the lung to the tissues by binding to hemoglobin. In cases where iron is deficient, anemia occurs and accordingly, “iron deficiency anemia” is diagnosed. According to statistics, iron deficiency anemia (anemia) occurs in 35% of women, 20% of men and 50% of pregnant women in the world.
What are the Symptoms of Iron Deficiency?
Anemia due to iron deficiency does not show symptoms in some cases. Iron deficiency can be diagnosed in blood tests done during routine health checks. Among the symptoms of iron deficiency;
- Skin paleness,
- Weakness, fatigue,
- Concentration disorder,
- Numbness in hands and feet,
- Cracks on the lips and mouth,
- Quick brittle of the nails,
- Hair loss can be considered.
Among the advanced symptoms of iron deficiency; Conditions such as palpitations, eating soil or ice, slowing thyroid functions, and restless legs syndrome are also seen. In the symptoms of iron deficiency in children, there may be a delay in walking-sitting-talking in children and difficulties in learning.
Why Iron Deficiency Occurs?
There are many reasons for iron deficiency. Anemia occurs due to iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 deficiency and can cause major problems if left untreated. Inadequate intake of iron, one of the causes of iron deficiency, may be inadequate due to incorrect diet programs. In addition, the need for iron is high in pregnancy, breastfeeding, children of growth age, low birth weight and preterm babies. Feeding children with foods that do not support iron instead of breast milk, give to babies cow milk before the age of 1, feeding with ready-made foods and not consuming enough animal foods may cause iron deficiency. The most obvious causes of iron deficiency in adults are; tea, coffee consumption is high, meat is roasted or overcooked in the oven and processed foods such as sausages and salami are frequently consumed. In some people, iron cannot be absorbed enough by the intestine. This is another factor that causes iron deficiency. Excessive menstrual bleeding in women, frequent and excessive births, miscarriages, abortion, and benign or malignant tumors in the gastrointestinal tract are among the causes of iron deficiency.
How much Iron should be Taken?
Iron deficiency is more common in pregnant and lactating mothers. Daily iron requirement is known as 8 mg for men and 18 mg for women. Since the need will increase during pregnancy, it is necessary to take 27 mg of iron daily and 18 mg of iron during breastfeeding. This requirement should be 7 mg between the ages of 1-3 and 10 mg between the ages of 4-6 in infants and children.
Foods that should be Consumed in Iron Deficiency?
Meat and Meat Products
Among the foods high in iron, meat and meat products rank first. Meat and meat products, which are a nutrient rich in vitamins A and B, and minerals such as zinc, phosphorus and selenium, are high in iron and high in cholesterol. Therefore, it is necessary to consume carefully. It suggests consumption of red meat 2 days a week, white meat 2 days a week and fish 3 days a week. In addition to eating meat, eating green salad with plenty of lemon and vitamin C increases iron absorption.
Also known as a vitamin and mineral store, the egg is also very rich in iron. “After breast milk, eggs with the highest quality protein content should be consumed daily by everyone”. To increase the iron content in the egg, foods such as parsley, cress and tangerines rich in vitamin C can be added next to the egg. At the same time, it is useful to leave the tea after breakfast, as tea drinking with food prevents iron absorption.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Expressing that green leafy vegetables such as spinach, chard, lettuce, cress, arugula, parsley and mint are high in terms of iron mineral, Thanks to its fibrous structure, it protects the digestive tract and helps prevent diseases. Natural vegetable juices to be consumed in the snacks help both keep fit and increase the amount of iron in the body. Especially when it comes to spinach iron, it is one of the first foods that come to mind. Spinach is a food that really powers. Regardless of your cooking style, you will see that your iron rate increases when you consume regular spinach. For faster results, you can be careful not to cook too much before you consume spinach, so you will preserve their nutritional values better.
Grains such as wheat, barley, oats, rice, rye and corn, which are high in vitamins A and B, also contain high levels of iron. Cereals become an iron storage meal for vegetarians, especially when consumed with dried legumes. Green salads with cereals and legumes enable for vegetarians to upgrade their iron storage. In addition, foods rich in vitamin C can be preferred to increase iron absorption.
With its high antioxidant structure, high content of vitamins and minerals, dried fruits are among the nutrients that we must have in our kitchen. Especially raisins, a fruit with a higher iron content compared to other dried fruits and 100 grams of raisins help meet 23% of the daily iron need. Due to its high energy content, it is necessary to pay attention to portion control. By consuming 1 tablespoon of raisins and 2 walnuts in your snacks, you both balance your blood sugar and make a nice snack.
Another food with a high iron content; grape molasses. 1 teaspoon of grape molasses contains 1 mg of iron. When consumed with oranges higher than vitamin C, iron absorption will increase. However, since grape molasses is a calorie food, it is useful to consume it by performing portion control. 2-3 mg in 100 grams of red meat; 1 mg in white meat; 1 teaspoon of molasses also contains 1 mg of iron. However, the main point to be considered here is not the amount of iron contained in foods; Whether or not iron is in the form named as… Iron minerals are divided into 2 heme iron and and nonheme iron minerals. Due to its enzyme and structure, iron, which is more usable and which we call heme iron is found in more eggs and meat. Foods such as nonheme iron containing molasses and greens do not completely eliminate iron deficiency, but only contribute. For this reason, it is not possible to eliminate the iron deficiency only with greenery or grape molasses.
Foods containing vitamin C help increase the absorption of iron from the intestines. Among these foods, foods with abundant vitamins such as oranges, tomatoes and eggs come first. Caffeinated beverages, such as tea / coffee that are likely to be consumed during the day, are not recommended, as they will reduce iron absorption. Instead, foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges and lemons, will be good for your iron deficiency. Eat this kind of foods in your snack times during the day. Take care to consume foods that contain this type of vitamin C.
The benefits of dark chocolate do not end with counting. In addition, dark chocolate can be a sweet source of iron to have healthier skin and strong teeth and reduce anxiety. 28 grams of dark chocolate contains 2 to 3 mg of iron, which is more than the same amount of veal. You can consume 2 pieces of bittter chocolate as a snack during the day. At the same time, you will meet both your sweet and iron needs.