The importance of iron in your diet

According to nutritionist Donovan Grant, iron is used mainly in the formation of haemoglobin which is necessary to help red blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body.

“Oxygen reaching the cells is important for getting energy. Haemoglobin also carries back some carbon dioxide from our cells,” Grant said.

Additionally, Grant said low iron levels could leave you feeling lethargic and could cause you to develop anaemia, a result of a deficiency of iron in the diet.

“As haemoglobin falls you will begin to feel tired and if the shortage of iron is high you may feel weak or breathless,” Grant said.

Additionally, losing blood through surgery or heavy periods can cause low iron levels.

Foods that can supply the body with iron include callaloo, moringa, liver, eggs, lean meats, leafy greens, fish, nuts and beans.

Rohan Gordon, wellness officer and personal trainer at Eden Gardens, said Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron, so eating fresh vegetables or citrus fruits will help the body to absorb minerals.

He said other ways to boost iron levels include incorporating leafy vegetables such as lettuce and pak choi in your diet, and eating the cooked green banana peel.

Also, supplements can be used to help build back red blood cells that may be lost for a variety of reasons. When you know your period is near, for example, you can beef up your iron intake to increase your blood count and prevent you from feeling dizzy and weak.


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