5 signs you might be iron-deficient (and what to do about it)

2020 was *def* a year of worrying about staying safe and healthy. While you may be more attuned to things like washing your hands more often or checking in on your own mental health, there are other health concerns you might not know about that can seriously be messing with your vibe. Iron deficiency is low levels of iron and hemoglobin in your red blood cells—which basically means your body cells are not getting enough oxygen. 

Iron deficiency most frequently occurs in teenage females, especially if those females are physically active. Whether you're not getting enough iron from your diet, or you're losing iron during exercise or even your period, low iron levels can really dampen your daily routine. Look out for these 5 possible signs of iron deficiency. 

1. Tiredness or weakness

You're getting eight hours of sleep every night and you even brewed your favorite mug of tea that *always* wakes you up...but you're still feeling fatigued. Less oxygen reaching your muscles will totally leave you deprived of energy—making it hard to crush your daily schedule. 

2. Paleness 

You simply aren't tanning *at all* and you're starting to feel like a vampire—even in the middle of summer. Pale skin or pale coloring in the face, lower eyelids or even inside the lips is a really common of low oxygen causing the loss of that rosy glow. 

3. Shortness of breath 

The less iron and hemoglobin you have, the more likely you are to find yourself with a shorter breathing rate during activities like walking, running or climbing the stairs. If you play a sport and find yourself suddenly unable to make it through workouts you've crushed many times before, it could be iron deficiency messing with your breathing. 

4. Dizziness 

If your head is suddenly spinning every time you stand up too quickly or even when you're just sitting down, this could be another sign of the lack of oxygen in your blood. 

5. Craving ice

It sounds weird, but a lot of people with iron deficiency find themselves craving cup after cup of ice to crunch on and some suspect it's because the cold makes them feel more alert. If you're crunching on ice cubes 24/7, it could be going past a need to cool down in the summer heat. 

Okay, so you're experiencing one or more of these symptoms. The next step is to go to your doctor and get a blood test to confirm where your iron and hemoglobin levels are. (No, rubbing silver on your face will not test for anemia, no matter what TikTok says,) If your levels are low, your doctor will most likely encourage you to start taking iron supplements at a quantity that's right for you. 

Iron supplements will make up for a lot of the iron you're missing, but to help the process even more, try some of these superfoods that can add iron back into your meals. 

Red meat (beef, pork, poultry) 



Peas, beans

Dried fruit (raisins, apricots) 


We want you to be feeling your best and making sure you have enough iron is a simple addition to your daily routine. Doing a little self-awareness check of your own health is a great habit to get into. You'll be back to [Fe]male power in no time. 

Sources: Healthline, Beacon Health
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Top image and slider via: @justgirlproject


by Abigail Adams | 7/28/2021