An iron deficit is not necessarily due to poor eating habits, an otherwise balanced diet may not supply ample iron to women in one of the following groups- menstruating, dieting, pregnant, vegetarian and women who do not eat red meat, as well as women who have trouble absorbing iron from their foods.
Menstruation: The monthly blood loss that occurs during menstruation causes the body to need increased iron. Women who experience heavy bleeding should pay special attention to their iron intake.
Dieting: Since the average American woman’s diet does not reach the RDA for iron, dieting and decreasing food intake will make it even more difficult to reach the recommended RDA for iron.
Pregnancy: Pregnant women are at an increased risk for developing anemia, because the iron stores are placed at an increased demand caused by the higher blood volume and demands of the fetus and placenta.
Vegetarians: Vegetarians and people who do not consume red meat are more apt to be iron deficient. Meat sources of iron, also called heme-iron, such pork, beef and lamb are among the richest sources of iron. Heme-sources of iron are best absorbed and utilized by the body. Non-heme sources such as the iron in beans, grains and vegetables is not nearly as well absorbed by the body.
Absorption: The capacity of the body to absorb iron from the diet is a crucial factor for developing iron stores and maintaining functional iron. When the body has trouble absorbing iron from foods or when iron is lost through cellular break down, iron deficiency anaemia is likely to occur.