I’m a mom of a tween girl, and I’ve been reading up on iron for teen girls.
Disclosure – This post about iron for teen girls is written in partnership with Canadian Beef. All thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and my own.
I have have been iron deficient for much of my adult life and it has been an ongoing issue for me.
Anemia is a condition where there is a decrease in the number of red blood cells or haemoglobin in the blood, leading to fatigue, paleness and shortness of breath. Because of this, I eat a balanced diet that is rich in iron from various sources, both plant and meat-based. I also take iron supplements to help me, as well as consume vitamin C-rich foods during meals to increase the absorption of non-heme iron.
Because low iron is an issue for me (and has been for most of my adult life), I am concerned about it being an issue for my daughter too. Genetics are interesting. I hope that she inherits positive properties from both my husband and me, and doesn’t develop the issues I am experiencing now.
Facts about iron
Did you know that iron:
- is an essential mineral found in every cell of your body
- builds red blood cells
- carries oxygen from your lungs to every cell in your body
- helps your brain work at its best
If you don’t get enough iron, you:
- can feel tired and weak
- have a low amount of energy
- look pale
- have trouble concentrating
- feel out of breath
- feel dizzy, cold, or faint
- be irritable
Iron for teen girls
Did you know that teen girls need almost 30% more iron than teen boys do?
All teens need iron to grow and maintain good health, but teen girls need more iron than boys do because they lose iron during their menstrual periods. Teen girls 14 to 18 years of age should aim to get 15 mg of iron each day.
Sources of iron
Iron comes in two forms and it is important to get iron from a variety of foods. Heme iron is only found in animal products such as beef, pork, lamb, turkey, chicken, fish, and seafood. Non-heme iron is not absorbed as well as heme-iron. Foods with non-heme iron include dark leafy greens, dried fruit, lentils, dried peas and beans, nuts and seeds, eggs, whole grain and enriched breads, pastas, and cereals.
Foods rich in vitamin-C help the body absorb non-heme iron. Make sure to include these in your meals: green, yellow, and red peppers, oranges, grapefruit, and clementines, strawberries, raspberries, and kiwis, tomatoes and tomato sauce, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
To see how you can make your meals more iron rich, click here.
Right now, I don’t think we have anything to be overly concerned with when it comes to Little One and iron. She eats well-balanced meals with a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins like beef. In fact, she loves cooking her own iron-rich recipes for our family. I love that she shows initiative and also gives me a few nights off cooking supper!
Here’s Little One’s Chili con Carne recipe.
As I mentioned earlier, I have been researching iron for teen girls. I’ve read articles from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, as well as Center for Young Women’s Health and KidsHealth, and various other sources. I’ve even asked our family physician and friends who are dietitians about it. I highly recommend reaching out to Carol Harrison, Registered Dietitian. She is my go to when it comes to everyday ideas to make healthy eating deliciously easy.
To learn more about iron for teen girls, you can also check out the ThinkBeef pamphlet on iron and teen girls.
Wish I had known this for my daughter when she was a teen! Took her to doctor when she was nearly fainting in class… doctor just put her on pill, without doing bloodwork first, or any other investigative things! Now she is 26 … seeing a Naturopath, who did bloodwork and says she is very low in iron!
How is your daughter doing now, Julie?