Pregnant women, young children, women with heavy periods (menorrhagia) and people with bleeding disorders have at least one thing in common—they all are at risk for developing anemia, low levels of iron in the blood. Symptoms include fatigue, weakness/dizziness, headache, and pale skin and nails.
The body needs iron to manufacture hemoglobin, a component of red blood cells that transports oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends trying to get most of your iron from animal sources, then plants. Iron-rich foods include:
- Lean beef, chicken, lean pork, turkey and fish
- Dried beans and peas
- Green, leafy vegetables, especially spinach
- Fortified cereals
- Whole-grain, enriched breads
If you think you may be anemic, make an appointment with your primary care physician. You may need to change your diet and add iron supplements.