Iron deficiency is a global health problem of ‘epidemic proportions’, according to the World Health Organization. Not only is it the most common deficiency across the planet, it is the most frequent cause of anaemia – which increases the risk of heart failure.
Natalie Parletta, a dietitian based at the University of South Australia, says lacking the nutrient can have a serious impact on someone’s health. Anaemia occurs when our red blood cell count and/or haemoglobin levels are too low, resulting in an inability to transport sufficient oxygen throughout the body.
Iron is required in order for haemoglobin to transport oxygen. Although vegetarians and vegans are broadly thought of as being at high risk of iron deficiency due to an absence of red meat in the diet, there is little evidence to support this.
Iron-Rich Food for Treating Iron Deficiency Anemia
Iron deficiency with and without anaemia in infancy can have long term negative impacts on brain function and behaviour, and even when levels are corrected, those effects may not be completely reversed. Maternal anaemia can result in premature birth, and along with high blood pressure or diabetes can compromise fetal iron levels in pre-term or term infants.
Women have higher requirements. For ages 14-50 years, recommended daily intakes range from 15mg to 18mg a day. Needs are higher during pregnancy, jumping to 27mg per day. However during lactation they are slightly less, at nine to 10mg a day.
Iron requirements for vegetarians have been estimated as 1.8 times more than non-vegetarians, however this conclusion was based on limited research. source, dailymail