Have you been feeling sleepy, run down, dizzy, or low in energy? Are you feeling short of breath or having a hard time focusing at work? Have you noticed that your skin is pale, or you often have headaches? It may have something to do with how much iron you're getting in your diet. An adult woman should get 18 mg of iron a day and if you're not reaching this goal, you may have iron deficiency anemia. Our bodies need iron to make hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen. If your cells aren't getting oxygen, then you'll experience the symptoms I mentioned above. You may also notice brittle nails and cold hands.
You may be at risk for low levels of iron if you tend to have heavy periods, are pregnant or just had a baby, if you are a long-distance runner, are a strict vegan, if you frequently donate blood, or if you have a gastrointestinal condition that makes it hard for you to absorb nutrients from your food. Meat, fortified cereals, dried beans, spinach, and potatoes with the skin are great sources of iron. To find how much iron they contain and see what other foods contain iron read more.
|Food||Amount||Amount of Iron (in mg)|
|Fortified cereal||1 oz||4.5 - 7|
|Dried apricot||1/4 cup||1.5|
|Garbanzo beans||1/2 cup, cooked||3.4|
|Pinto beans||1/2 cup||2.2|
|Lima beans||1/2 cup||2.2|
|Sun-dried tomatoes||1/2 cup||9|
|Spinach||1/2 cup, raw||2.7|
|Kale||1/2 cup, steamed||2|
|Broccoli||1/2 cup, raw||1|
|Asparagus||1/2 cup, steamed||1|
|Potatoes, with the skin||1/2 cup||3.2|
|Pine nuts||1/2 cup||9|
|Pumpkin seeds||1/2 cup||14|
|Sunflower seeds||1/2 cup||6.7|
|Ground beef||1 patty||4|
|Turkey (dark meat)||3 oz||4|
|Oysters||3 oz, steamed||7.4|
Fit's Tip: You can take iron supplements, but they may cause an upset stomach, heartburn, or constipation, so it's best to get your iron from foods. It's rare, but you can also get too much iron. Extra amounts of iron in the body eventually build up to dangerous levels and can cause severe damage to organs trying to store the extra iron. So be careful not to exceed your daily amount too often.