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Feb 11, 2013

Are you getting enough iron?

  • Do you realise that the following symptoms: tiredness, lethargy, looking pale, feeling faint and breathlessness are associated with a shortage of iron?
  • Do you know that not including enough iron in your diet could lead to serious health problems?
  • Do you make an effort to include foods that are rich in iron in your diet?
  • When they're feeling run down lots of people think of cutting back on the late nights. But would you think about changing your diet?
If you answered 'Yes' to all these questions, well done! You know your iron facts. If not, then you'd better read on and get your iron know-how up to speed.

  When you're short of iron - known as iron deficiency - it isn't pleasant. The symptoms can include:

  • tiredness and lethargy
  • difficulty concentrating and shortened attention span - not good news if you're trying to revise
  • looking pale and feeling faint
  • breathlessness
You can easily pump up your iron stores, but first you need to know which foods are rich in iron:

  • roast beef and other red meat (beef, lamb, pork, offal) are rich in iron that is easy for the body to absorb. The darker the meat, the more iron it contains
  • chicken contains some iron - choose leg meat rather than breast meat if you want to get more iron
  • baked beans
  • boiled eggs
  • canned sardines or other oily fish and mussels
  • breakfast cereals with added vitamins and minerals
  • green leafy vegetables, such as watercress, kale, spring greens and broccoli
  • dried fruit such as raisins, figs, apricots and prunes
  • wholemeal bread
  • lentils, beans and peas
  • nuts such as peanuts, cashew nuts, almonds and brazils
  • seeds such as sesame and sunflower
Here are a couple of iron tips:
  • Try cutting down on tea and coffee as this could help to improve iron levels in the body. This is because tea and coffee contains a substance which can bind with iron making it harder for the body to absorb it.
  • Eating fresh fruit or salad vegetables (including tomatoes) or drinking fruit juice (all of which contain vitamin C) with meals might help the body absorb the iron in food.