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How to Prevent Iron Deficiency in Women?

People most at risk of suffering from anemia caused by iron deficiency are pre-menopausal women and teenage girls. Indeed, the required daily intake of iron for women aged 19 to 50 years old is 18 mg per day (vs. 8 mg for men), while teenage girls aged 14 to 18 need 15 mg per day (vs. 11 mg for boys).

Different reasons can explain depleted iron reserves: significant blood loss (menstruation, childbirth), a nutrition low in iron, poor iron absorption (inflammatory bowel disease, gluten intolerance, drinking tea during meals, high calcium intake), or increased need (pregnancy, breast feeding, growth).

Here are a few tips to avoid this nutritional deficiency:

  • Have a diversified diet that includes whole-grain cereal products (or fortified with iron), dark green vegetables, mollusks, organ meats, red meat, and shrimps;
  • Wait a few hours after a meal before having tea;
  • Use black molasses (black-strap) rather than white sugar to sweeten foods;
  • Integrate one food rich in vitamin C in each meal, which will maximize iron absorption (sweet peppers, oranges, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kiwis, orange juice, strawberries, etc.);
  • Sprinkle baby cereals fortified with iron (such as pablum, for example) on your breakfast cereals, yogurt, or pureed fruit.

In addition, take advantage of the nutritional labels on the products you buy and use them to choose foods rich in iron. Did you know that the percentage indicated beside iron represents the average recommended daily intake, which is 14 mg? Therefore, if one serving of a particular food provides 20 % of iron, you will get 2.8 mg of iron (20 % x 14 = 2.8). Since all mobile phones now come equipped with a calculator, you will be better equipped to plan your nutrition!

Bon appétit!

By Marilyne Petitclerc

Marilyne Petitclerc

Holder of a degree in nutrition from Université Laval, Marilyne has worked as a nutritionist for Nautilus Plus since 2010. Passionate about healthy eating and sports nutrition, she also gives lectures and hosts cooking workshops. With her clients, Marilyne makes extensive use of the instinct diet approach and the Mediterranean diet model. Furthermore, she has attended classes on live nutrition at the Hippocrates Health Institute. Maryline ran the Quebec City Marathon des Deux Rives - Half Marathon in 2010 and 2012. She also took part in the Staircase Challenge, another event held in Quebec City in June 2012. Marilyne also plays in an Ultimate Frisbee league and trains regularly at the Nautilus Plus branch where she is employed.

How to Prevent Iron Deficiency in Women? is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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