Do you feel tired, weak, short of breath, light headed or cold? Do appear abnormally pale or have a rapid heartbeat? You may suffer from anemia. To know for sure, you need to see your doctor and have him do a simple blood test to determine your red blood cell count.
Once you know for sure whether you suffer from anemia, you can start to do something about it. Your doctor will help you determine the best course of action for you, but you can still do some things to help yourself. Check out the 6 ways you can increase your iron absorption on your own.
1. Vitamin C. If you struggle with anemia, taking vitamin C along with your iron supplement is recommended by WebMD. Vitamin C increases the absorption of the iron, so you get more out of your supplement.
2. Fruits. If taking vitamin C isn't your thing, you can get it naturally through your food. Some foods high in vitamin C according to Healthline are citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, guava, papaya, pineapple, melons and mango. You can make a fruit salad, eat a piece of one of these, drink some juice or make a smoothie before taking in your iron.
3. Vegetables. Some people don't respond well to taking iron supplements but instead have to resort to getting their iron out of what they eat. NDTV Food recommends eating dark green vegetables for a great source of iron. Celery, mustard greens and broccoli are great. Cooked spinach is also really high in iron, but avoid it raw as it contains oxalic acid which can keep you from absorbing the iron, working against you.
4. Snacks. For the times in between meals, NDTV Food recommends snacking on dried fruits and nuts. Raisins and dates contain both vitamin C and iron, making them the perfect combination for iron absorption. Lots of dried fruits and many nuts are high in iron.
5. Blackstrap molasses. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends using a "throw-back" remedy that is easy on the stomach. Known as pregnancy tea, mix 1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses in 1 cup of hot water and drink it every day to get a tummy-friendly dose of iron.
6. Avoidance. If you want to get the most out of your iron, whether you're taking supplements or consuming it in your food, WebMD says to be sure you don't consume antibiotics, tea, coffee, chocolate, caffeinated foods, foods high in calcium or high-fiber foods within two hours of consuming your iron-rich foods or supplements. These foods and beverages interfere with iron absorption and are counterproductive.
Sometimes the cure is really as simple as watching what you eat, but not always. If you're one who can control your anemia through diet and supplements, remember the tips above to maximize your iron absorption.