Do you wake up exhausted? Are you someone who has a short attention span and struggles with staying focused? Before you try to blame your misfortunes on stress and lack of sleep, ask yourself if you iron your body, not literally of course.

Iron deficiency is a micronutrient deficiency that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when your body does not get enough of the mineral called iron. Iron helps your body make a protein called hemoglobin that carries oxygen to your blood tissues and organs.                   

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Since oxygen is essential to all of your organs, the lack of oxygen will prevent your organs from functioning properly. Your brain will not work well and you will have trouble concentrating. Your heart will not pump enough blood to your organs, which causes headaches, muscle cramps, and stringing pain in your limbs.

Women are more likely to be iron deficient than men, as they require more iron due to the great loss of hemoglobin during their period. 

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If you think you are iron deficient, it is important to be tested. However, to prevent iron deficiency or to reduce it, consider the following foods. These foods are rich in iron and have a high bioavailability (a lot of iron in these foods gets absorbed and used by your body).

Choose Iron Rich Food

More iron is absorbed in meat sources than in other sources. If you are a vegetarian, you should increase the intake of iron-rich, plant-based foods. This will allow you to absorb the same amount of iron as someone who eats meat. 

1. Red Meat, pork and poultry

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2. Seafood
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3. Beans

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4. Dark green, leafy vegetables, like spinach or kale 

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5. Dried fruit, like raisins or apricots.

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6. Iron fortified cereal grains, such as breads or pasta (breads and pasta are made from cereal grains). 

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7. Peas

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Increase iron absorption with foods rich in Vitamin C

Foods rich in Vitamin C can increase the amount of iron absorbed by your body. Some of the foods rich in Vitamin C are lemons, oranges, mandarins, broccoli, kiwi, grapefruit, peppers and leafy greens.

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If you are not doing well in school, it does not mean that you're a bad student or not "smart enough". You might simply struggle with concentrating or getting the required amount of work done because you are iron deficient.

If you experience tiredness, weakness, shortage of breath, dizziness, headaches, cold hands and feet or brittle nails you might be iron deficient and should see your doctor. Take good care of yourself and iron your body to be successful in everything that you do.