Getting more Iron and Zinc within the diet can boost women’s memory and moods according to researchers from Deakin University, Australia. The increase in iron and zinc may be one of the best ways to address cognitive decline as we age, their findings indicate.

The review published in Nutrients, examined the studies into positive moods and the cognitive effects of increasing their iron and zinc intakes for people aged between 12 and 55 years old.

By increasing the iron and zinc levels via supplements, researchers found that it can improve memory and intellectual abilities and increasing the zinc intake can also improve symptoms of depression in women who already had low levels of zinc.

From their research into zinc and its role within mental health, the researchers have found that this may be useful in addressing cognitive decline in people who age. The study’s senior author Dr Linda Byrne, suggests that iron and zinc can also help to maintain the physical and psychological health of wellbeing in women.

Worldwide, one of the most common nutrient deficiencies is iron deficiency and women are most at risk due to them losing iron from their blood every month. Iron needs also increase with people who experience pregnancy, and they are less likely to consume a diet rich in available iron compared with men. 10-20% of adult women are estimated to experience low iron levels and even less is known about women’s zinc status.

The Deakin research team is investigating the levels of iron and zinc within Australian women. Researchers have also looked closely at the relationship between women’s iron and zinc concentrations and how to relate this to feelings of depressive symptoms, fatigue, memory and moods.

Get More Iron and Zinc Into Your Daily Diet

One way to get more iron and zinc into your diet is to eat more legumes as they are packed with 3.3mg of iron and 1.3mg of zinc per half cup serving. Legumes consist of lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans, soybeans and peanuts. Legumes contain 37% of the RDA for iron and over 10% of the RDA for Zinc, along with important vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins B1, B3, B5, B6, phosphorus, copper and manganese.