According to Statistics Canada, about 1 in 10 Canadian women is anemic. The side effects of low iron stores include: fatigue, headaches, irritability and perhaps even some depression if the deficiency is severe. The lower your iron levels, the worse these symptoms can get.
Similarly, our iron requirements change as we age, so it's important to talk to your doctor about your specific needs.
If you need to amp up your iron stores, keep in mind that there are two types of iron:
• Heme iron comes from animal sources and is most easily absorbed by the body.
• Nonheme iron is found in plant sources, such as vegetables, cereals and legumes. It is not as easily absorbed as heme iron.
If your doctor recommends adding more iron to your diet, here are 10 ways to increase your iron intake.
1. Eat iron-rich foods for breakfast
Registered dietitian and nutrition consultant Shannon Crocker suggests these two breakfast ideas for a great dose of iron early in the day.
1. Hot cereal sprinkled with wheat germ, pepitas (raw pumpkinseeds) and slivered apricots, plus a small glass of orange juice. Try Oats-Plus Porridge.
2. Almond butter on whole-grain toast with a side of strawberries.