According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, iron is the most common nutritional deficiency and the leading cause of anemia in our country. You should also know that our bodies absorb two to three times more iron from animal products than plant products, so vegetarians and vegans are more likely to deal with an iron deficiency than the rest of us.
“Iron has a very important role in transporting oxygen throughout our blood to maintain our energy levels,” Hostler explains. The most common symptoms of an iron deficiency include fatigue, dizziness, headache, pale skin, weakness, and sometimes cravings for some bizarre things such as ice and dirt. Vitamin C paired with iron sources can help maximize absorption, so Hostler recommends meal options like bell pepper and bean salad, spinach salad with a lemon vinaigrette, or fortified cereal with berries.
Beans, lentils, spinach, fortified cereal as well as tofu, cashews and fortified breakfast cereal (again) are all excellent sources of iron. However, consult your doctor, because you may need an iron supplement.