Q:

Why do I crave red meat?

A:

According to author Denise Minger of Raw Foods SOS, a craving for red meat signifies an iron deficiency. Because the body is lacking iron, it craves the iron in red meat. Minger suggests eating leafy greens or sea vegetables with foods high in vitamin C to enhance iron absorption and stop red meat cravings.

Dr. Stephen Gangemi states that a red meat craving may be because of a B12, folic acid or magnesium deficiency; however, the most common reason for a red meat craving is an iron deficiency. People between the ages of 35 and 55 may notice the symptoms of low iron worsening during times of high stress. Women may experience symptoms of low iron during their periods due to blood loss, or low iron may be the result of an iron absorption problem.

Stored iron in the body, also called ferritin, is measured using a ferritin test. Ferritin levels between 50 and 150 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) are considered normal by most physicians; if a person has a ferritin level below 35, he is considered to have low iron. Iron supplement pills may help, but they do not always work. Sometimes, as Minger suggests, the problem is simply that the person is not eating enough and is therefore not receiving enough iron. A change in diet may help the symptoms.


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