Food is one of the basic necessities of humans, and it stands first among all basic needs – food, shelter, and clothing. Food is essential for the health and growth of any living being. “Everyday” foods are more nutritious and provide better fuel for our body. Food may vary from person to person based on demography, taste, affordability etc. It is important as it nourishes the human body- sustaining the very existences of humans. Our body understands any food in terms of their nutritional content. Although we are surrounded by food all the time, the understanding of food is very poor. Most of us eat what comes in front of us. Lot of us appreciate the taste, very few appreciate finer nuances like texture, mouthfeel, the interplay of taste, and even fewer try to understand what it is made up of and what it can do once it enters our body.
You can fill the tummy with anything, but is it what our body craves for? When the proportion of Vitamins, Minerals, Fiber etc. are not met, you develop weakness and disorders causing major diseases like Cancer, Diabetes, Heart failures etc. For healthy and prospectus days, focussing on what you eat is very important. Certain Stages in lifelike toddler, the growing period in children, teenage, pregnancy, middle age+ are the sensitive phases which describe our ease in health depending on what you eat.
According to studies conducted by experts, there are several deficiencies of Vitamins and Minerals. The most prevailing mineral deficiency is Iron deficiency. It is because of either low intake of iron-rich food or low iron absorption by the body due to many factors like heme iron consumption without Vitamin C, consumption of alcohol, aerated drinks, smoking, junk foods, etc.
Anemia is not a disease. It is a condition in which you lack sufficient healthy red blood cells to carry and supply adequate oxygen to every cell in the body. There are 400+ types of anemia identified, among which Iron Deficiency Anemia forms the majority and very common especially women, growing children and hardworking men.
BITTER TRUTH: IRON DEFICIENCY IS THAT NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCY WHICH IS NOT MUCH ADDRESSED, DISCUSSED AND EDUCATED ABOUT. IRON DEFICIENCY IS A SILENT KILLER.
Iron deficiency means Insufficient Iron. Iron is one of the inevitable nutrients for your body. Iron is essential for your mental and physical health to keep your energy levels up.
Insufficient iron ⇒ no sufficient RBC production. Insufficient RBC ⇒ no sufficient Oxygen supply. Insufficient Oxygen Supply ⇒ shortness of breath, tiredness etc Shortness of breath, tiredness ⇒ paves the way to a disturbed lifestyle.
SYMPTOMS OF IRON DEFICIENCY
Fatigue and other symptoms of iron deficiency can also lower your quality of life and reduce your ability to concentrate and be productive at work.
Blood loss: Blood is the carrier of Iron in red blood cells for the supply of Oxygen to every tissue of our body. When Blood is lost, Iron is lost. Hence, women with monthly blood loss, diseases like peptic ulcer, a hiatal hernia, a colon polyp or colorectal cancer, piles. pre and post surgeries.
Lack of Iron in your diet: The main source of Iron is from the food we eat like green leafy vegetables, red meat, pork, seafood, dried fruits etc. Due to busy schedules or western food culture have made the foods tastier forgetting the nutritional part. For proper growth and development at every stage of life.
Lack of Iron absorption: There are 2 chances where the body fails to absorb Iron:
A. Absence of Iron absorbent in Diet: Just having Iron-rich food is not sufficient, only very less portion is absorbed by our body naturally. We are unaware of the fact that Iron-rich foods with Vitamin C help in absorption. Foods such as Lemon, Lime, Oranges, Kiwi, Amla should be added as part of our meals.
B. Inability of the body to absorb Iron: Intestine is the part where Iron gets absorbed. When that part of the body is affected with any disease, bypassed or surgically removed, that may affect your ability to absorb iron and other nutrients.
Food is the best way to cure any diseases. Hence make sure your diet contains adequate Iron and Iron Absorbent.
Western Influence and busy life end up cooking the easiest food, leaving nutrition behind.
Rate of absorption of Iron-rich food is lesser though it is safe.
Consistency of having Iron-rich food is tough and unrealistic in this era.
Hence, depending on food for Iron may not always be good.
We have many supplements available in the market. It definitely gives a quick cure but may leave multiple side effects during the course period as well as later. Supplements are synthetic and prepared with chemicals a foreign thing may react in various manners. Adding to it, it’s always safe to consume after prescription only.
Incase of Blood transfusion pain is unbearable. Some are allergic to blood transfusion.
Who is at Risk?
Though Iron Deficiency prevails in every sector, below mentioned are the most affected categories.
Most affected categories
Whatever stage of life Women are in, iron should be an important part, as they need one and a half times as much iron as men in order to ensure that they have enough iron. Women are more at risk of not meeting the required Iron due to monthly blood loss.
On average, a woman loses between 5 and 80 ml of blood (2.5 and 40 mg of Iron) every month, and this has to be covered up. If you eat a normal, balanced diet; and, with a little care, you can fulfil a major part. In case of Prolonged Or Heavy menstrual Cycle, they are at risk of iron deficiency.
Menopause is also a period, women are highly sensitive to be in the Iron deficient Category due to hormonal imbalances.
A stage when extra Iron is necessary for Women. Though it is true that pregnant women don’t have monthly blood loss, an additional supply of Iron to fetuses from your own body. To meet such requirements, Pregnant women should consume double Iron every day compared to non-pregnant women. Insufficient Supply of Iron results in complications for the baby and mother. Even chances of normal delivery reduce with the amount of Iron in that stage.
Children are choosy in selecting food which is only tasty, leaving behind nutrients. Children born preterm or who were less breastfed also fall under Iron Deficient. Iron Deficiency in Children as low concentration, easily tired, prone to infection, pica(eating ice, mud, wood etc), poor academics etc. Growing Children need high energy at that stage, they explore many new adventures. That stage, they are involved in Academics as well as co-curricular activities which require a lot of Cognitive development and Physical Energy.
Adequate Iron keeps up Energy high, smarter in Academics and better Cognitive skills.
Until the age of puberty, boys and girls require an equal amount of Iron (up to 12 mg a day, according to their age). Girls entering puberty without adequate Iron will result in Iron Deficiency. Whereas a guy’s Iron requirement reduces to 10 mg of iron a day after their Growing period.
Iron deficiency is one of the common issues faced by Athletes. Athletes, in general, need more iron than sedentary people. Iron is lost when RBC is broken down quickly through our body in the form of sweat, skin, urine, the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and menstruation. Their RBC has a shorter lifespan. Hence, Female athletes are utmost risk bearers. Around half of the females who exercise and do not care about Iron experience Iron Deficiency.
If you are very active, your iron need is even greater, as more iron than usual is secreted in sweat and urine, while higher levels of energy production and oxygen transport use up more iron.
Untreated Iron deficiency can cause life-threatening diseases