Fatigued all the time? Pale skin? Always grumpy? Headaches? These are all things that could easily be blamed on the weather this time of year. Without a winter vacation getaway, many of us are lacking a glowing complexion in these cold months. The short days and lack of natural vitamin D can be a reason for tiredness & a bad attitude. But it could also be your iron…
Whether you’re not eating enough iron rich foods or your body isn’t absorbing what you are taking in, it’s time to make a change. Vegetarians in particular and those with Celiac Disease are prone to low iron. High concentrations of easily absorbable iron is found in red meat and the dark meat of poultry. Plant sources of iron are not absorbed by the body as readily, though this is increased when vitamin C rich foods are consumed with iron supplements or iron rich foods. Molasses, spinach (and other dark leafy greens), broccoli, dried beans & lentils are great vegetarian sources of iron. Cooking with cast iron cookware will also help raise the bodies iron levels. Think outside the frying pan: everything from pots & casserole dishes to muffin tins & grills are available in cast iron! Check out Northern Hardware for a great selection.
Checking your iron levels takes just a simple blood test, often part of routine bloodwork. Donating blood through Canadian Blood Services requires an finger prick iron test as they wont deplete your iron further if it’s not high enough. Many things can cause low iron in the body in addition to not consuming it or the body not absorbing it. Pregnancy or heavy menstruation can be a factor, as any other type of blood loss whether internal or external. Internal bleeding is the most common reason for anemia due to iron deficiency in men and in women once they are done menopause.
Feeling cold all the time, brittle nails, inability to focus, irritable, dizziness (possibly as a result of low blood pressure), general weakness, sore tongue, shortness of breath & chest pain are other symptoms of iron deficiency anemia. Should you suspect your may have low iron, book an appointment through your family doctor or our office.