Can iron deficiency affect your menstrual flow? 5 iron-rich foods you must add to your diet   |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
- Menstruation is one of the most natural processes of the female human body
- Women, however, can experience extreme pain or complications during their cycle
- There is a two-way link between iron deficiency and menstruation where either can affect the other in various ways
New Delhi: Menstruation is one of the most natural processes in the female human body. However, since the subject remains tabooed in various societies around the world, people often shy away from speaking about it, even when it can have a direct impact on the reproductive and overall health of the females. Various factors such as lifestyle choices, deficiencies, or existing health conditions can cause abnormalities in your monthly period or menstrual cycle.
These abnormalities can range from heavy bleeding, less bleeding, excruciating pain in the abdomen, excessively long periods, short periods, delayed, or missed periods and others. The causes of these can vary from person to person. Many females, who often suffer from a lot of pain during their cycle, or have abnormalities in their flow, are told that they are deficient in a certain nutrient – iron. However, is there truly a link between the two?
Iron deficiency and menstrual cycle – How are they related?
Iron deficiency, also known as iron deficiency anaemia and menstruation have a two-way link. People who get heavy periods are said to have a higher risk of getting iron deficiency. At the same time, women who have iron deficiency are said to have complications in their menstrual cycle.
Since women lose blood during their menstruation, they are also likely to use iron content from their body. This can increase the risk of iron deficiencies or iron deficiency anaemia in women. However, just because women bleed once a month does not mean it always leads to a deficiency. This only happens when the lost iron is nor replaced with more iron consumed from their diet. Iron deficiency is also common during pregnancy, due to the high requirement of the nutrient in the body.
As far as the link between deficiency and period pain or abnormalities is concerned, women who do not consume enough iron through their diet can have symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, tiredness, painful menstrual cramps, tiredness, etc during their periods.
It is, therefore, crucial to provide your body with iron-rich foods throughout the month, especially during the 3-5 days when you bleed, in order to replenish the lost nutrient in the body.
Add these 5 iron-rich foods to your diet
- Chicken, fish and mutton – If you consume non-veg food, consuming chicken, fish, and mutton can help you keep your iron levels in a healthy range. However, these foods should only be consumed in moderation.
- Leafy green vegetables – Leafy green vegetables are one of the healthiest sources of iron. Spinach, fenugreek leaves, mustard leaves, etc are known for their rich iron content.
- Grains – Whole grains that are rich in fibre should be consumed to keep your iron levels healthy. Jowar, bajra, millets, oats, etc are great options to include in your diet.
- Dates – Dates are one of the richest sources of iron, and this is also the reason they are commonly recommended for consumption during pregnancy. Add dates to your diet as a healthy dessert, or snack option.
- Raisins – Raisins are also very rich in iron. You can add raisins to your food, desserts, or just consume them as a mid-day snack to make up for the iron content in your body.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.