January 10

Life-giving foods to fight anaemia and iron deficiency


It may be so mild at first that you hardly even notice it, but the symptoms of iron deficiency get worse over time. Paleness, tiredness, fatigue, palpitations, tightness in the throat are just some of the milder and more severe symptoms symptoms of anaemia.

Foods that make us sick, or what causes iron deficiency

Iron deficiency is a nutritional disease, which means that the problem can be caused by insufficient iron intake, or by a problem in the absorption of iron from food, or by bleeding in the digestive tract. Particularly nowadays, with the rise of the fast food and junk food culture, malabsorption due to excessive consumption of refined carbohydrates or gluten sensitivity is becoming more common and may also be a cause of iron deficiency.

Refined carbohydrates may contribute to the development of anaemia by the gluten found in cereals affecting the intestinal lining, so that the iron content of the food cannot be fully absorbed in the small intestine. The intestinal wall also acts as an iron 'store': if it is intact and healthy, it can absorb iron, whereas if it is inflamed or ulcerated, it cannot store it.

If you have sensations of coldness, or you’re frequently thirsty and constipated, which are also symptoms of iron deficiency, you should definitely think about how you eat. As 'delicious' as it may seem to our taste buds, which is by now almost confused by the food industry, you should avoid eating foods made with fine flour or refined foods, and of course too much fat is also a contributory factor to anaemia.

Today, most doctors recommend iron supplements to their patients. This is not always an ideal solution, because for many people they cause constipation and digestive problems, which means that supplements can even further impair the condition of the intestines and thus the absorption, increasing the risk of iron deficiency. So, before you turn to pills, it's worth eating as many healthy foods rich in iron as possible. For example, nuts, hazelnuts and almonds are recommended, and raw fruits such as cherries, gooseberries and currants (red and black) are particularly useful.

You don't have to switch your diet completely to liver products – especially if you don't like them anyway. Feel free to think about 'greener options'. To combat anaemia, eat plenty of beetroot, spinach, parsley greens, broccoli, asparagus and kale, kohlrabi and legumes (lentils, peas, beans).

Unfortunately, anaemia can occur at any age and in high proportions in both sexes. It is particularly alarming that one in three children and a quarter of women are affected. Women are also at more risk because pregnancy, breastfeeding and menstrual cycles increase the risk of developing anaemia.

So, it may not just a dietary problem. If you notice that your hair is falling out or your nails are thin and brittle, but especially if you find yourself wanting to sleep all the time, it's probably worth supplementing your iron intake. If you train in sports as a woman, your performance can also be affected by iron deficiency if your blood's oxygen-carrying capacity is inadequate – and this can have an impact not only in competitions but also in everyday life.

If you feel you can't eat enough fruit and vegetables, don't fret. With InnoFit, you can easily and simply consume the vegetables that are missing from your diet. Beetroot and berries are excellent sources of iron, so you'll find them naturally and easily absorbed in our Purfit, Topform and Child products.

Erzsébet Mihalikné Krémer

Health educator and creator of the InnoFit product family