Iron is the building block of hemoglobin, the essential protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen to all parts of the body.

It is important to incorporate iron-dense meals into your daily diet. Like hemoglobin, iron is also an essential component of myoglobin, a sister protein of the former that does the same job of carrying oxygen throughout the body.

"Causes of an iron deficiency can range from poor diet to a serious illness," said Dr. David Brill, of Cleveland Clinic."Other factors to consider are your age, gender, and medical history."

The recommended dose of daily iron absorption is seven to 18 milligrams per day for general adults, while an added 27mg is advised for pregnant women.

Food items that are rich in iron:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Dried apricots
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Cashews
  • Hemp hearts
  • Spinach

Another trusted way of packing more iron in one's meals is cooking with cast iron utensils.

But what happens when the body lacks iron?

There is enough iron reserved in the human system but when they are all used up, the body manifests some tell-tale symptoms. That aside, sustained inadequate absorption can lead to conditions like anemia, which occurs when the body has fewer red blood cells than normal.

Signs that indicate you are iron deficient

Fatigue: It is one of the most common symptoms of iron deficiency anemia, which occurs due to a lack of dietary intake. People may think resting is a way out of the problem but the issue actually lies deep in the blood cells, according to Healthgrades.

Chills: A person can often wake up tired and feel cold all the time due to anemic condition.

Shortness of breath: This occurs as the body's oxygen levels dramatically fall due to a lack of hemoglobin in red blood cells. A person can huff and puff frequently at the onset of severe anemia.

Headaches: Stabbing headaches occurring frequently could also be a clear indication of anemia. The condition presents itself as the brain receives less oxygen than it needs to function optimally, according to Healthline.

Insomnia: It is an accompanying condition of iron deficiency anemia. Apart from losing sleep, people with the condition may also experience anxiety, depression and other mental health issues, Snooze University reported.

A swollen, sore or pale tongue can be a sign of iron deficiency. Pixabay