Micronutrients are a group of nutrients the body requires in small amounts. Their deficiency can indicate a significant health problem. Iron is one of the micronutrients our body needs the lack of which can cause anaemia. In India, iron deficiency among women is a public health problem. For growing children and pregnant women, there is a higher need for this mineral iron. Anaemia in pregnant women can increase the risk of death and lead to low birth weight for the baby. To reduce anaemia due to iron deficiency, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends iron and folic acid supplements for women.
Iron plays a vital role that includes:
- Produces haemoglobin and oxygenates blood cells
- Helps in the metabolic processes
- Maintains normal cognitive function
- Keeps immune system healthy
So, it is necessary to make sure that your diet fulfils the nutrient needs of your body. In particular, expecting mothers should have a healthy pregnancy diet with iron-rich foods.
We share the best sources of iron you should have in your diet:
1. Nuts and Seeds
Increase your daily intake of iron by having nuts and seeds, which can be great snack options. Pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, almonds, and cashew nuts are some excellent choices.
2. Green Vegetables
Green vegetables, such as broccoli, green beans, and cabbage, and leafy greens like spinach, kale, and cauliflower leaves, are rich sources of iron that one can find easily.
3. Fruits Rich in Iron
Pomegranates, apples, and bananas are healthy snacks that give you ample fibre and nutrients like iron. Dried fruits like raisins and apricots also contain a good percentage of iron.
4. Herbs, Spices, and Condiments
Coriander, tamarind, cumin seeds, and mango powder are healthy food items that increase your iron intake apart from adding a flavour of foods.
5. Whole Grains
Whole grains like quinoa, oats, whole wheat and amaranth have many health benefits and prevent ailments like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. They are also rich in antioxidants, fibre, vitamins, and minerals like iron.
6. Coconut Milk
Not only dry coconut but also coconut milk can be excellent sources of vitamins and minerals, including iron. You can add them in moderate amounts to your diet to reap the benefits.
Foods to Increase Iron Absorption
Consuming these iron-rich foods alone may not be enough, which is why you should include some foods that aid in the absorption of iron. Add vitamin C-rich foods like citrus fruits to your daily diet. Also, sprout and ferment plant-foods like legumes that would boost iron absorption in the body.
Besides the lack of iron in the diet, some disorders or surgeries can affect iron absorption in the body, resulting in anaemia. Moreover, people who donate blood frequently should keep a check if there is an iron deficiency. This medical condition can cause fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath, brittle nails, and dizziness. Although anaemia or iron deficiency can be cured easily if left untreated, it can cause complications, such as pregnancy complications, delayed growth in children, or irregular heartbeat and heart failure. Thus, one should include iron sources in food, especially expecting mothers and growing children.
Focus on preventing health problems by leading a healthy lifestyle. To tackle any medical emergency, you need the support of health insurance that will offer coverage for various medical expenses apart from hospital expenses. Visit the official website of Care Health Insurance (formerly Religare Health Insurance) to opt for a health cover today.