Answering the questions:
Who is at risk of iron deficiency? What are the signs and symptoms of iron deficiency?
What are ways to increase iron stores naturally?
In my line of work iron deficiency anemia is rampant! While females with regular menstruation are already at a higher risk of anemia, chronically undernourishing the body can allows iron levels to plummet pretty quickly - regardless of your sex or how you identify.
Low iron levels often present first as chronically low energy, always being cold, and/or having dizzy spells. Many of these signs are due to the fact that iron is important in transporting oxygen around the body to deliver it into our cells and organs, as well as its role in maintaining our homeostasis (baseline state).
However, there are also other concerns that arise when someone is has low iron levels. These include predispositions to having low moods/mental health concerns, an impaired immune system, and poor digestion. Because iron is one of the bodies most important “co-factors” (like a key that unlocks and/or drives different processes), we actually can’t properly create many hormones (like serotonin!) without it. We can also have trouble properly driving adequate digestion and other metabolic processes in the body without enough iron.
Tips for increasing iron levels naturally:
⁃ Iron fish (as seen in photo!) or cast iron pots/pans (they release iron into our food without changing the flavour)
⁃ Having iron rich meals with a source of vitamin C
⁃ Fortified or enriched grains like cereals or oatmeals
⁃ Spirullina in smoothies (see spinach cube recipe for easy intake)
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