Is your health as strong as iron? 5210 eeed2f3c-c321-4d88-b59f-8402ac464b08 article Elisabelle Hardy Dt. P. Elisabelle Hardy Dt. P. /media/chgbm5fc/avez-vous_une_santé.jpg Découvertes 8/31/2018 12:00:00 a.m. Fall

In North America, iron deficiency affects for about 20 % of women, 50 % of pregnant women and 3 % of men. Necessary to forms red cells which carries oxygen in the body, it has a great role on your energy plus, it ensures optimum operation of the brain.

Are you at risk for an iron deficiency?

You should be more careful about iron if you're :

  • in a phase of growth  (ex. : in your teens)
  • having abundant menstrual bloodshed
  • taking antacids
  • pregnant or breasts-feeding
  • vegetarian or vegan
  • suffering from celiac disease or Crohn's Disease

Even if anemia (iron deficiency) doens't always shows symptoms, you may still be careful of the following signs :

  • tiredness
  • breathlessness
  • pale complexion
  • fragil nails and hair
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • impatience
  • difficulty to concentrate
  • faster cardiac rythms

To know if your iron supply is good enough, ask your physician to test your ferritin and amount of hemoglobin at your next  annual appointment.

How much iron do I need?

Children from 1 to 3 years old

7 mg / day

Children from 4 to 8 years old

10 mg / day

Kids from 9 to 13 years old

8 mg / day

Male teenagers from 14 to 18 years old

11 mg / day

Female teenagers from 14 to 18 years old

15 mg / day

Men of 19 years old and more

8 mg / day

Women from 19 to 50 years old

18 mg / day

Wemen of 51 years old and more

8 mg / day

Pregnant women

27 mg / day

Breasts-feeding women

9 mg / day

If you're a vegetarian or vegan, multiply iron needs by 1,8 since vegetal iron is less well absorbed than animal iron. Exemple : 1,8 x 18 mg = 32 mg.

Clues to fulfill iron needs

It's iron contained into liver, meats, seafoods and fishes which is better absorbed by your organism. However, it's possible to have a vegetarian or vegan alimentation without risking an iron deficiency thanks to rich foods and tips to enhance absorption.

The best sources for vegetal iron are : green vegetables, tomatoes paste, edamames, lima beans, instant oatmeal and other enriched cereals, tempeh, tofu, lentils, white beans, pumpkins seeds and black treacle. 

It's possible to enrich recipes, yogurt or cereal smoothies for babies (pablum) which gives 2 mg of iron per tablespoon (15 ml). Do not hesitate to add pumpkins seeds butter to your alimentation and to add to your potage canned white beans or lentils. 

Do you know this canadian innovator product called Lucky Iron Fish? This small fish made of iron frees iron while cooking simmering plates, without adding any ferrous taste. Fulfilling your needs would've never been as easy thanks to this creation since 1 liter bring to a boil for 10 minutes with this product can bring up to 7 mg of iron!

Optimizing iron absorption

An effective way to optimize iron absorption is to add to the same meal a great sources of C vitamin, either with particularly rich foods (orange, pepper, strawberry, raspberry, kiwi, tomato, cauliflower, broccoli, turnip, brussels sprouts) or with C vitamin supplement.

You must also know that that cooking foods into cast-iron casserole increase food's amount in iron.

Finally, wait 1 hour before taking tea, coffee or chocolate since these foods decrease the absorption.

Understanding nutritional labels

The percentage marked beside iron on the nutrition facts labels over ones products, represents the normal intakes recommended, which is about 14 mg. If one portion of the food gives 20% of iron, you'll then obtain 2,8 mg of iron (0,20 x 14 = 2,8).

For more information about the amount of iron into specific foods, consult this document from Canada's dietitian.

Flavorous recipes rich in iron