Anemia impacts a lot of people. The problem is that many don’t even realize they are dealing with it. Low iron levels have many different symptoms that can be easily ignored as they might not seem very serious.
The problem is anemia can get worse over time and then those symptoms get dramatically worse. In this episode I’ll show you some of the signs and symptoms to look out for that indicate low iron levels and then some natural things you can do to raise it back up.
Of course, if you’re feeling that you may suffer from low iron levels the first thing you want to do is consult with your doctor to get a correct diagnosis. The point of this episode is to help get you up to speed with what to look out for and the problems that can happen when your iron levels are too low.
In This Episode On Signs Of Low Iron You’ll Learn:
- What problems can arise from anemia
- Why you shouldn’t ignore headaches
- Skin conditions to look out for
- Why you need to be aware of your appetite
- Craving dirt??
- What heme iron is and why it’s so important
- The best places to get heme iron
- what non-heme iron is and how it can benefit vegans
- The most important minerals and nutrients to improve iron absorbtion
- The one meal that can be the perfect iron booster for your body
Low iron levels can cause a lot of issues in the body and if it is left untreated the symptoms can get worse. Luckily though, iron deficiency can be treated and your levels can be boosted naturally. Iron deficiency is a form of anemia and it impacts a lot of people. In this condition the blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells and without them it cannot carry oxygen to the rest of the body.
Looking at the signs of iron deficiency will let you know if this condition is effecting you. Obviously, this goes without saying that you should always check with your doctor or physician and get an actual determination and diagnosis but this article is to give you the information and insight into what goes behind this condition.
Without sufficient iron, your body cannot produce enough of the substances that exist in red blood cells that lets them carry hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout your body which obviously every part of you requires. However, this condition doesn’t have to be a massive problem and supplementation can help correct it. But there are natural ways you can boost your iron levels and that’s what we’ll look into.
Let us go through some of the neglected symptoms and signs of iron deficiency. The problem is some of these symptoms can be relatively mild and often can go unnoticed. Hence, when you learn to recognize the signs you will have a better idea if this might be affecting you. You need to be proactive about it and then always consult your doctor for further testing. Because as the body becomes more deficient in iron, the anemia worsens. When that happens the symptoms become much more intense.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF IRON DEFICIENCY
It is usually the most common sign of low iron in the body and it’s tough because this is where it can be often overlooked as most people are pretty tired most of the time. In addition to that, the problem is you can get used to being in this state and just chalk it up to poor sleep. When this is, in fact, one of the main signs of low iron levels. So if you are tired all the time no matter how much sleep you’re getting, you might want to investigate this further.
Second most common sign of low iron is just feeling weaker. With low levels of iron you will feel noticeably weaker. Although, there is going to be days when you feel stronger however constantly feeling weak could be a sign.
Another more common sign is pale skin and you can usually identify it with those who suffer from anemia. The low iron levels in the body result in pale looking skin and an unhealthy appearance. So if you are familiar with people who do have anemia, you might know that it can stand out quite easily. It’s a very good physical indicator of iron deficiency.
Another sign is chest pain. The chest can be impacted in a few ways if you’re not getting enough iron. Some chest pain can be common in issues related to the lungs or muscle strains in between the rib cage. But with an iron deficiency you may experience a varying type of chest pain. Although you should never ignore any type of chest pain but in this case it may be a sign of your low iron levels.
Faster heartbeat & Shortness in breath
This may not always be a sign but a faster heartbeat or shortness of breath can be caused by low iron levels. When your tissues and cells are not receiving enough oxygen including your lungs, it’s going to make breathing harder and uncomfortable.
A tip for this is to breathe through your nose. It is great if you can focus on this all the time but especially when you are exercising, walking or doing any form of cardio it is important to really focus on breathing through your nose.
Another sign of low iron is called extremities. This sign is not necessarily related to low iron levels in the body but one just to be aware of. This causes varying temperature changes and cold hands and feet. If they are cold all the time, it might be a sign of low iron levels. Circulation problems can also cause cold hands and feet but they are not always related. However, something that’s continuing to happen over long term, needs to be noted.
Next sign to look for is cognitive issues. Every organ in your body requires oxygen to function optimally. Obviously, with low levels of iron your brain is not getting enough oxygen as it needs. Some other symptoms that can come with cognitive issues is headaches that can come and go. You may experience dizziness and light headedness from the low iron levels. But you can see how people might ignore signs of iron deficiency with a common thing like a headache. You can just chalk that up to something else so it’s important to be aware of all the signs and that a brain deprived of oxygen is dangerous.
A bit of a weird one but it does happen. Sometimes when your body is low in iron it can crave some very bizarre things. People have actually reported to crave weird things like dirt, starch, dry wall and cravings for ice. This can be a sign, it may be a long shot but it can happen in the body.
There can be various reasons why you might have brittle nails such as low levels of omega 3, zinc or inadequate protein intake. Another reason maybe that your body is not receiving enough iron. If you are seeing changes in the quality of your nails, it can be a sign to look out for.
Last one is poor appetite. If you struggle to finish meals or you just don’t feel hungry in the first place, it shouldn’t be ignored. A poor appetite because of low iron levels is more likely to affect infants and children but is something to keep an eye on. If you don’t find yourself hungry for long stretches of time it can be another symptom impacting you.
So after being brought up to speed of the signs of iron deficiency, we will now talk about how to you make sure that this doesn’t happen in the first place.
WAYS YOU CAN NATURALLY BOOST YOUR IRON LEVELS
Lean Red Meat
It seems obvious but is usually at the top of the list and that is to eat lean red meat. The thing with lean red meat specifically is that it’s full of heme iron which is very rich in hemoglobin. This heme iron is the best form of iron you can find and up to 40 percent of it is available to be readily absorbed by your body.
If you are consuming animal protein you want look for the cleanest sources possible. So choosing pastured grass fed and grass finish beef and true organic animals will be much better for your health. They are free from hormones, antibiotics and they consume a natural diet.
They are also full of natural omega 3 and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which has been seen to increase levels of lean muscle mass and combat diseases like cancer. These animals when they consume natural grasses, they convert it in their bodies into useful nutrients and then you receive them once you consume them.
Some of the top choices of getting this heme iron are pork, chicken, veal. Fishes like halibut, haddock, perch, salmon and tuna. Some shellfish like clams, oysters and mussels also contain heme iron.
Although, if you are a vegan or you are avoiding animal products, there are some non-animal sources of iron available as well. You can still find a good form of it in some plant-based foods. However, these are non-heme iron sources which are not absorbed as efficiently as the regular heme iron but can still be beneficial.
This is an easy form of iron to get and is also added to a lot of foods to fortify them. So for plant-based choices, fortified things like fortified cereals, rice, wheat and oats are good sources.
Other top plant-based sources are dark leafy greens. Specifically kale, spinach and swiss chard. The darker green the better. You can find non-heme iron in dried raisins, apricots, lentils, soybeans, tofu, baked potatoes and cashews. All these ingredients are easy things that you can include in everyday diet. If you are making a dish you can always add lentils, soybeans, cashews and dried raisins as they are very easy to combine altogether.
Combining the right foods
This is very important because not only do you need to combine the right foods to boost the iron level but you also need to properly absorb it. Absorption is key because without it you might be wasting a lot of iron. The main thing to start with is to absorb as much iron as possible and that requires to consume as much vitamin C as possible.
This is especially important if you are not consuming animal products as vitamin C will bind to the non-heme iron and store it in a form that will be easily absorbed by the body. Hence, you need to consume foods high in vitamin C at the same time as foods that contain iron. You can always take a vitamin C supplement but the best form to get it in is natural which include citrus fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, bell peppers, melon, strawberries and green tea.
A cup of green tea can contain more vitamin C than an orange. Regardless of whether you are consuming animal-based iron or non-heme iron, it is important to consume these ingredients along with it.
So for instance, if you are making a kale salad, throw in some bell peppers, cashews, dried raisins and some other sources of vitamin C. That is the perfect combination. Besides vitamin C, you also need to consume foods rich in vitamin A and beta keratin. Both of these will also increase the absorption rate of the iron you are consuming.
The best sources of vitamin A and beta keratin are carrots, orange foods like sweet potato, spinach, kale, squash, peppers, cantaloupe, oranges and peaches. So it is very important to eat these dark green leafy vegetables everyday especially if you are suffering from low iron levels.
You can see how combining all those things in that big salad is covering all those ingredients, the non heme iron, the vitamin C, the vitamin A and beta keratins. It is very easy to include all these things in your daily diet and they are not only good in iron but also antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.
Focusing on whole foods is always going to be your best bet. It’s going to keep you covered and ward of ailments like anemia and low iron levels and help you stay healthy.
So hopefully you’ve found this episode helpful to help look for signs of low iron levels – and I think one of the most important takeaways continues to be that of a whole foods diet. Not only are their natural things that boost your iron levels but they can do wonders for other areas of your health too.
There are simple things you can do each day, and consume, that will have multiple positive benefits and they’re not expensive! You don’t even have to eat unfamiliar foods but just look to combine them in the right way to not only boost your iron levels, but to make sure you’re absorbing it properly.