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Lack of iron causes low levels of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to body cells, Dr. Pathak says. Logically, if the oxygen level in your body is low, you’ll feel out of breath much quicker than normal. “You have less blood which now has to do extra work,” she adds. If you feel like you can’t catch your breath after going up one flight of stairs, you may need to have some iron-rich foods such as liver, meat, beans, nuts, dried fruits, and green vegetables, according to the U.K. National Health Service (NHS).