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Anaemia and the Importance of Iron

Last Updated Sep 01, 2020

Iron is important for many daily functions of the body.  This includes:

  • Transporting oxygen around the body
  • Brain development

Symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia

  • Feeling tired
  • Pallor
  • Feeling breathless after very little exercise
  • The feeling or sensation of an irregular heartbeat or a feeling of heart palpitations

Profound anaemia can also show the following symptoms:

  • Tinnitus or ringing in your ears
  • An altered sense of taste
  • Soreness or ulcers at the edges of your mouth
  • Poor concentration

If these symptoms occur, it is important that you speak to your health professional as they may not always be a sign of iron deficient anaemia.

Causes of iron deficient anaemia

  • Loss of blood through menstrual period
  • Heavy blood loss after an operation or injury

Certain groups of people are more susceptible to iron-deficient anaemia:

  • Pregnant women - during pregnancy, it important to increase your daily food sources of iron.This includes meat, poultry, eggs, green leafy vegetables, legumes, fish, dried fruit especially dried apricot
  • Children and toddlers - with every growth spurt, your child will need sufficient iron supplies to make blood and muscle.It is very important make sure, therefore, that your child is receiving adequate amounts of iron in order to meet their needs. A daily consumption of iron containing foods is vital
  • Athletes -iron is lost in sweat.It is therefore important that intense training is met with adequate amounts of iron rich foods

Eating Foods Rich in Iron

All the iron you need can come from the food you eat.  These include:

  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish such as tuna
  • Organic tofu
  • Legumes and Pulses
  • Eggs
  • Dried fruit such as apricots and raisins
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Vitamin C can support the absorption of iron
  • Tea and coffee contain a substance called polyphenol.This can bind with iron and make it harder for your body to absorb iron. However, research shows that this is only prevalent if teas and coffees are consumed in excess.
Originally published on Feb 06, 2015

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