Iron is an essential nutrient in the production of hemoglobin, which our bodies need in order to carry oxygen around the body and create energy. The good news is that the majority of people get enough iron from the food they eat. Most consumed iron comes from animal products. If you do not eat animal products, there are lots of vegetarian iron- filled options, and it is suggested that these be eaten with vitamin C to help with absorption.
You should always get your iron from food unless your physician recommends otherwise. For some, a supplement may be necessary to meet iron needs, but you shouldn’t start taking one without discussing it with your physician first.
What Is Iron Deficiency?
Iron deficiency anemia is due to insufficient iron. This means your blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells. Healthy red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body to tissues and muscles. In the beginning, iron deficiency anemia can start off mild and can go unnoticed. However, as the body becomes more iron deficient and the anemia worsens, the signs and symptoms, such as fatigue, follow.
Heme Iron Foods
Heme iron is absorbed by the body and is found in animal products.
Non-heme Iron Foods
Non-heme iron is commonly found in legumes, nuts, seeds, and certain vegetables like big leafy greens.
- String beans
- Dark leafy greens – dandelion, collard, kale, spinach
- Cabbage, Brussels sprouts
- Tomato paste
You can also get iron through fortified sources such as tofu, grains, bread and cereal. Read the product labels to check it’s iron content.
Iron Rich Diet
Iron is an essential mineral that needs to be regularly consumed as your body cannot produce it on its own. There are plenty of ways you can incorporate foods that are rich in iron into your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
For breakfast, fortified cereals are an easy way to begin the day with a dose of iron. Throughout your day, it is advised to keep in mind a healthy balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats for your meals. For carbohydrates you can choose between iron rich vegetables or grains including quinoa. Iron-rich proteins include fish, seafood and red meats. Nuts and seeds are great healthy fats that can be an addition to snacks and meals.
OptiFer Alpha Heme Iron Supplement
If you are experiencing the symptoms of iron deficiency anemia, talk to your physician to get your iron levels checked. If your iron stores are low, your physician may give you an iron supplement.
There are both heme and non-heme iron supplements. OptiFer Alpha is a heme iron supplement and it comes in 11mg tablets. The recommended dose is 1-3 tablets a day, speak to your physician first to determine the right dosage for you.
As a heme iron supplement, OptiFer Alpha is derived from animal sources. It is halal and absorbs easily with low side effects.