Several patients who have recovered or are recovering from Covid-19 have complained of fatigue, breathlessness and cognitive dysfunction. These symptoms are associated with iron deficiency, as an alteration in iron metabolism and anaemia has been linked to this virus in many cases.
Iron deficiency is a condition in which the blood has a reduced number of healthy red blood cells, which are required to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues.
You could be experiencing iron deficiency if you are a Covid1-9 patient, recovered or otherwise, and experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, chest pain, shortness of breath, headache or poor appetite.
In such a case, see a doctor for a diagnosis before self-medicating with iron supplements as excess iron accumulation can damage your liver and cause other health complications.
However, you could increase your iron intake through certain foods as it would amount to micro-dosing on iron and provide a host of health benefits due to various other nutrients present in them.
These foods will boost the iron content in your body and help increase your red blood cell count:
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Low on calories and high on nutrition, spinach is the superfood you should include in your diet. About 100 grams of raw spinach containing 2.7 mg of iron, also happens to be rich in vitamin C, an agent that boosts iron absorption. This leafy vegetable contains antioxidants that improve overall health by decreasing inflammation and increasing immunity levels.
Legumes such as beans, lentils, chickpeas and soybeans contain high quantities of iron. One cup of cooked legumes will provide your body with 2-6 mg worth of iron. Legumes are also a good source of folate, magnesium, and potassium and can help reduce the risk of heart diseases and lower blood levels of damaging LDL cholesterol. Try having legumes with vitamin C rich foods such as tomatoes to increase iron absorption.
Seeds such as flax, pumpkin and chia contain adequate amounts of iron. Pumpkin seeds, for example, contain 2.5 mg of iron in one serving (28 grams). Moreover, these seeds are also a rich source of magnesium, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids and can help you fight high cholesterol and protect your cells from harmful free radicals produced during metabolic processes.
A power food, as it is often cited, broccoli packs a solid nutritional punch. It contains 1 mg of iron per serving of 150 grams of cooked broccoli. It also contains vitamin C which helps your body absorb iron better. This wondrous vegetable is also rich in fibre, protein, calcium, selenium and magnesium, therefore, be it fighting anaemia, building muscles or strengthening bones, broccoli is the undisputed wholesome goodness champion.
5. Dark chocolate
Packing 3.4 mg of iron per serving of 28 grams, this is probably the tastiest iron-rich food you could include in your diet. Dark chocolate is also loaded with antioxidants and supports in lowering inflammation, “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and blood pressure. This nutritious and delicious treat is also helpful in reducing the risk factors for heart disease.
So, be vigilant of any signs of iron deficiency and consider including these foods in your diet.