01/5Why is iron important for your body?
Iron is an important mineral that helps red blood cells carry oxygen through the body. Iron boosts the immune system and also supports healthy skin, hair and nails. Among many other functions, it also supports a person’s ability to learn.
Iron deficiency is a relatively common problem. A new study suggests it may be particularly common for girls and young women in the US.
02/5Iron deficiency in girls and young women
A new study from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, looked at the iron levels of about 3,500 females aged 12 to 21, who were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The findings of the study were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This survey was carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor the health status of adults and children across the country through interviews and physical exams.
Researchers found that nearly 40% of participants in that group were deficient in iron.
03/5Symptoms of iron deficiency
According to the NHS UK, if your diet is partly causing your iron deficiency anemia, then increasing your intake of iron-rich foods can help. It is suggested you consume more dark-green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals and bread, meat, dried fruit like apricots, prunes and raisins, and pulses such as beans, peas and lentils.
Further, reduce your consumption of tea, coffee, milk and dairy. Large amounts of these drinks may make it harder for your body to absorb iron.
05/5What happens if you have iron deficiency?
“Children who do not receive enough iron either from iron-rich foods or supplements are at greater risk for developing anemia,” according to the CDC. Untreated iron deficiency anemia can make you more at risk of illness and infection. It may increase your risk of developing complications that affect the heart or lungs. In pregnancy, iron deficiency can cause a greater risk of complications before and after birth.
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