Mental problems and disorders such as depression and anxiety may be related to iron deficiency. Iron is a nutrient that plays a key role in mental health and neurotransmitter formation in the brain.
In research conducted by the University of Michigan, iron was found to help produce neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which are essential for good mental health.
“Many people who have mental health problems such as depression or anxiety, and the health care providers who treat them, may not know about this link,” says Stephanie Weinberg Levin, a psychiatrist at Michigan Medicine and VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.
The academic medical center at the University of Michigan explains that consuming foods high in iron is important, and even more so for people who do not consistently consume iron.
In addition, health professionals point out that you can be iron deficient even without anemia, so people who have a mental health problem can ask their doctor for a blood test or a ferritin test.
If the result of the ferritin test is low iron levels, patients will need to increase the amount of foods high in iron or see a doctor who will prescribe a supplement.
Iron supplements can improve fatigue and mood, even in people who do not suffer from anemia.
What foods are rich in Fe?
Iron is naturally present in many foods, just as it is present in fortified products. Plant foods, seafood, meat and poultry contain iron, although vegetables contain a different type of iron.
Iron from meat is better absorbed by the body; therefore, the National Institutes of Health recommends that vegetarians consume twice the amount of iron.
Other foods that provide good iron levels are as follows.
- Nuts and dried fruits (raisins).
- Beans, peas, lentils, and spinach.
- Lean meat, poultry, and seafood.
- Cereals and bread fortified with iron.
This article is merely informative and not intended as a medical diagnosis; if you have an iron deficiency, it is important to make an appointment with a health professional.