Iron and Women

Why is Iron Important for Women?

Iron is important for overall health for everyone, but especially women under the age of 50. Iron helps transport oxygen throughout the body, helps with the immune system, and protects against the actions of free radicals. Women lose twice as much iron as men, and are more likely to be deficient-especially during the childbearing years.

Women are often low in iron and need more iron because they lose an average of 15-20 milligrams of iron each month during menstruation. If you do not get enough iron, iron-deficiency anemia can develop. The most common feelings one will experience if low in iron will be feeling weak, dizzy, tired, exhausted, and fatigued. If you are low in iron you could also experience indigestion, and can have more frequent headaches. After menopause women’s iron levels typically increase, but not always, so it is important to get checked if you are feeling some of the symptoms mentioned.

Sources of Iron:

  • Animal products such as meat, fish and poultry are good and important sources of iron. Red meat is one of the best sources of iron-especially liver.
  • Plant sources such as potatoes, peas, beans, spinach and other leafy vegetables. Beans and dark green vegetables being one of the best sources of iron.
  • Whole grains, and iron fortified cereals, as well as nuts are also great sources or iron.

*Foods containing Vitamin C help with the absorption of iron!! *
*Coffee and tea contain substances that can block the absorption of iron-so try to avoid drinking those beverages while eating a meal. *

During pregnancy most women are advised to take iron supplements as baby is taking the nutrients away from them. This can be as simple as taking a prenatal vitamin which should already have 30mg of iron in it. This will be sufficient unless you are low in iron (feeling some of the symptoms above, or tested low). Iron deficiency during pregnancy has been linked to greater risk of preterm birth, baby having low birth weight, and even fetal/newborn death. (These being extreme cases)

The best way to find out if you are for sure low in iron would be to speak to your doctor, and have a blood test taken.


  1. […] will help keep the digestive food system running smoothly. I mentioned in a previous article the importance of iron for pregnant women-and kidney beans are an excellent source of iron! Try putting kidney beans in your salads, soups, […]

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