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!
By Marilyne Petitclerc