Most teenagers are too busy shopping, studying or Snapchatting to worry about their iron levels. But young people – especially teenage girls - are the most at-risk group for iron deficiency.
The latest figures from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey reveal that almost half (48%) of young women (aged 11-18) aren’t getting enough daily iron. Growth spurts at puberty, starting periods and developing stronger bones and muscles all require huge amounts of iron for energy and to build new blood cells. School sports can also step up a gear. Endurance sports like running, cycling and swimming demand even bigger iron reserves. Unfortunately, this comes at a time when junk food and fad dieting has never been more appealing, making it harder for teenagers to get enough iron. Spotting signs of iron deficiency is difficult: tiredness, apathy and feeling emotional are all part of being a teenager. But if you are worried your child is showing signs of ongoing listlessness coupled with a poor diet, consider these tips:
Tips for parents
• Talk to your child about the importance of getting enough iron and how it can boost energy, mood and performance.
• Buy iron-fortified cereals and bread for the home.
• Include iron-rich foods in your evening meal as often as possible, such as red meat, fish, beans, lentils and leafy green vegetables.
• Limit tea and coffee which can inhibit iron absorption.
• Consider an iron supplement. Blueiron is the perfect wellness supplement for busy teenagers. Just one daily dose restores iron levels, reboots energy, fights lethargy and aids concentration (brilliant at exam time). It’s also packed with wild blueberries, nature’s number one superfood, to help ward off sickness and build great hair, skin and nails. In case you’re wondering, it also tastes good too (phew).