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Up to 62 percent of women don't get sufficient iron in their diet, risking fatigue, pale skin, and anemia. "When you lose blood through menstruation, childbirth, or injury, you also lose iron," explains Jeannie Moloo, PhD, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Here's how to get the recommended 18 milligrams per day:Consume Iron-Rich Foods
Try lean beef (3 mg per three-ounce serving), oysters (6 mg per six-piece serving), spinach (6 mg per cup), beans (4 to 8 mg per cup) and fortified cereal (Cheerios has 10 mg per cup).Boost Absorption
The heme iron in meat is more absorbable than the nonheme iron in produce. Combining the two at one meal helps, as does consuming iron along with foods high in vitamin C, like citrus. Also, separate iron-rich foods from those high in calcium, like milk and cheese; the two minerals compete for absorption.
Originally published in Fitness magazine, December 2005.