Beef Up Your Iron To Relieve Chronic Tiredness…

While everyone gets run down from time to time, being tired all of the time is not normal and could be a sign that something is wrong. Many people these days live fast-paced lives, eat the wrong types of food and are busy with work, family and other commitments, which can contribute to stress and fatigue.  If you are a person however, who suffers from constant sleepiness, irritability and gets fatigued easily, you may be iron deficient or suffer from iron deficiency anemia. If you are concerned, schedule a visit with your doctor, as other symptoms may develop, left untreated. Most likely your doctor will run some blood tests to check your hemoglobin and blood count. An iron binding test, which checks your iron saturation level and ferritin level (iron stores in your body) may be also be done. If your doctor determines you are iron deficient, you may need to beef up your iron intake to relieve your chronic tiredness.

Tired all the time

What is iron and why does your body need it?
Iron is an essential micro-nutrient your body needs to produce hemoglobin, which is needed to carry oxygen throughout your body and to individual cells. Our bodies do not produce iron on its own, but rather absorb it through the foods we eat. Our main sources of iron come from plants and animals, although some food products are fortified with iron.¹

What is Iron Deficiency Anemia?
If your doctor determines you have iron deficiency anemia, you may need more than over the counter iron supplements and possibly further testing, depending on the cause.

Iron deficiency anemia can develop when there is an insufficient amount of iron in the body. The condition develops when your blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells and can result from numerous causes including: an inadequate amount iron in the diet, iron absorption issues or blood loss in the body from an ulcer, polyp, cancer or some other illness. It can also be caused by heavy periods in women. If your body does not ingest and absorb enough iron, a multitude of symptoms can occur including: sleepiness, fatigue, moodiness, memory problems, hair loss, anxiety, depression and others.²

tired

Who is at risk?
Iron deficiency anemia affects more people than other health condition and is a world-wide problem. Developing nations are especially at risk. In some areas, almost half of the population is affected. In the United States, it is a common problem for both women and children. In fact, 700,000 toddlers and 7.8 million women suffer with an iron deficiency in the U.S. alone. Pregnant women, the elderly and children are often at risk. Iron deficiency anemia is a common problem for menstruating women, as well. Those experiencing heavy periods during perimenopause are often affected by the condition too. In addition, a small percentage (2 %) of men are also affected with iron deficiency anemia.³

children

Treatments

Iron Supplements
If you are iron deficient or diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, your doctor will most likely prescribe iron supplements, which can help build your iron levels back up to a normal range. There are a many brands of iron available to choose from. Most over the counter supplements contain approximately 25 mg. of iron, although some brands may contain more. Make sure you check with your doctor for proper dosage requirements, as it is individual and based on your iron testing levels and diagnosis. Iron supplements should be taken with vitamin C to help alleviate stomach upset and aid in absorption.

Iron comes in a variety of forms including: tablets, capsules, and liquid. You may have to play around a bit to find the form and brand that works best for you. I found a vegetable-based iron capsule to work best for myself, when I needed to re-build my iron stores, after trying several brands. Some people may prefer a timed-release option, as it delivers a steady amount of iron to your body throughout the day. Again, it is personal preference and everyone is different. Feel free to shop around and try different brands and formulations.

Iron-Rich Diet
While taking an iron supplement should help build iron in your body, eating an iron-rich diet is also important for your journey back to health. Thankfully, there are many ways to beef up your iron. Ironically, one of the best food choices you can make to build iron is beef. That’s because beef contains heme iron, which is found in animals and typically attached to proteins, called heme proteins. Heme iron is the best source of iron for people who a iron deficient. Some other good sources of heme iron include: chicken, turkey, ham, veal, shrimp, lamb, salmon, mussels and clams.

If you are not a meat-eater, don’t worry, there are plenty of other non-heme iron options. Non-heme iron is found in vegetables, grains and some processed foods. You can also find non-heme iron in fruit, nuts and seeds. Some good sources of non-heme iron include foods such as strawberries, spinach, kale, beans, broccoli, noodles, oatmeal, molasses, rice, potatoes, bread, cereal and more.4

If you are buying processed food, make sure you read the food labels to determine the iron content, as well as other the ingredients.  Make sure you try and avoid those products where sugar, fat and hydrogenated oil are at top of the list of ingredients. A diet rich in whole foods is the best source of nutrients for body. When possible, look for products with 5 ingredients or less.  Some examples include: raisins, apricots, bagged salads, black beans, bagged spinach and nuts.

Iron Infusions
Although many people can restore their health with diet and iron supplements alone, some individuals may require other treatments. Depending on the cause and the severity of the deficiency, some individuals may require iron infusions to boost their iron levels more rapidly. Supplementation and eating an iron-rich diet however, may be prescribed after an infusion and monitoring.

Recovery

Although iron deficiency anemia can be stressful and a challenge to deal with at times, it is treatable. Keep in mind that it does take time to re-build iron, so be patient and allow your body time to recover. If you are diligent with your iron supplements and follow an iron-rich diet plan, your body will naturally heal. Keeping a positive outlook and mind-set is also beneficial.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

P.S. If you would like to learn more about iron deficiency anemia, as well as how to eat healthier and live a healthy life-style, you may want to check out my book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living. It is available on Amazon. You can grab a FREE Chapter here.

Source:

¹“What Is Iron?” Idi, www.irondisorders.org/what-is-iron.

² Mayo Clinic Staff Print. “Iron Deficiency Anemia.” Overview – Iron Deficiency Anemia – Mayo Clinic. N.p., 11 Nov. 2016. Web. 13 Feb. 2017.

³Wpadmin. “22 Shocking Iron Deficiency Anemia Statistics.” HRFnd. N.p., 23 Dec. 2014. Web. 01 Feb. 2017.

4“Iron We Consume.” Idi, www.irondisorders.org/iron-we-consume/.

10 Iron-Rich Foods To Sustain Your Energy…

Did you know that iron deficiency anemia affects more people than any other condition?¹

That’s right! For some of you that may be surprising or alarming, given the fact that many people aren’t aware of the symptoms or the condition. I was one of these people, that is until a few years ago, when I was diagnosed with it myself and had to deal with the ailment. In my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, which is available on Amazon, I talk a little bit about the causes of iron deficiency and how it lead me on a path to learning more about nutrition. I also talk about how eating a healthy diet and living a healthy life-style can help with a host of health problems, including vitamin deficiencies. In this blog, I wanted to share some information on 10 iron-rich foods that can help sustain your energy, whether you are iron deficient, or not.

Let’s take a look…

  1. Spinach—

    Spinach is rich in many minerals and nutrients that are beneficial to your body. It contains non-heme iron, which is the type of iron found in plant-based foods. When I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, I started eating a lot of this leafy green, as I needed to consume a certain amount of iron-rich foods. I also added spinach to my morning smoothies, as well as other main dishes I would cook. Many people enjoy spinach salad, but this powerhouse vegetable can be added to many entrees. Try adding it to your spaghetti sauce, chow mein, lasagna, stir-fries and more for added energy and nutrients.
  2. Kale—

    Kale is another green that is rich in iron. In fact, kale contains more iron than spinach. (Kale contains 6 % iron, where spinach contains 5%.) Kale is also rich in fiber and other vitamins including vitamin A, B6, C, folate, calcium, copper and more. Kale has a unique taste and a texture that is course and dense. Some people like kale salads, while others may mix it with other greens. Kale can also be added to smoothies and can be eaten raw or cooked. It can also be added to other main dishes for an added boost of vitamins and minerals. I enjoy kale, as well as spinach. Give it a try if want to add more nutrients to your diet.
  3. Black Beans—

    Black Beans are not only good for you, but taste great. It is no wonder they are a popular food in many cultures. They are rich both in iron and fiber and also contain plenty of protein. They also contain other valuable vitamins and minerals including calcium and manganese and have trace amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for you. Black beans have a dense texture and can be eaten alone, or added to other entrees or dishes such as rice or quinoa. I like to add black beans to taco meat and rice. I also like to eat black beans as a side dish. They are delicious heated with a little spinach, onions, tomatoes, and spices including tumeric and cajun. Give it a try if you like, or come up with your own favorite recipe.
  4. Beef—

    Beef is rich in heme iron, which is found in animals and attached to proteins. If you happen to be iron deficient, heme iron is the best source of iron for your body. That is why I eat beef several times a week. Growing up, I ate a lot of beef, but as I got older, I kind of got tired of it. Over time however, my body began to let me know I needed to add more of it back into my diet. If you enjoy beef, know that you are getting a healthy dose of iron, as well as other vitamins and minerals. Keep in mind that a serving of beef, or other meat should only be the size of your fist.
  5. Chicken—

    Chicken also contains heme iron and other vitamins. It is a popular choice for many consumers and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Many people enjoy it as a main entree, or use it in other dishes such as pasta, enchilada’s, stir fries, etc. Chicken is also a healthy addition to salads and various side dishes. Again—Keep in mind that a serving of chicken should also be the size of your fist.
  6. Eggs—

    Eggs have been a  staple in the diets of many consumers for years. It’s not surprising, as eggs contain protein, carbohydrates and fat. They are also a good source of choline and iron, which is found in the yolks. Eggs contain a healthy mix of both heme and non-heme iron, making them unique. Eggs can be prepared in a variety of ways and are a popular breakfast item. I like to add a variety of vegetables and meat to my eggs to enhance their flavor, as well as their nutritional value. Feel free to add whatever vegetables you enjoy with your eggs to help boost their nutritional value.
  7. Nuts—

    Nuts are a great snack food and are not only delicious, but nutritious. It is no wonder they are a  a popular snack choice for many consumers. Nuts are loaded with many healthful nutrients too including protein, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium and copper. They also contain healthy fats (MUFAS), which your body needs and craves. Many nuts are also rich in iron, which helps deliver oxygen to your cells. It is especially important for those with iron deficiency anemia and works to prevent it as well. I enjoy almonds, cashews and other varieties of nuts daily. Make sure you grab a handful of nuts to snack on to enjoy their health benefits.
  8. Strawberries—

    Strawberries are a popular fruit and enjoyed by many consumers. They are sweet, delicious and loaded with a variety of vitamins and minerals. They actually are considered a super food since they are nutrient dense and promote well-being. Strawberries contain vitamin C, which helps promote eye health and immunity. They are also rich in fiber, which helps aid digestion and contains some iron, which helps to carry oxygen throughout your body. Snack of this tasty fruit and enjoy its many healthy benefits.
  9. Apricots—

    While there are many varieties of fruits, the apricot is considered one of the healthiest in the world.² It is loaded with healthful nutrients and has many benefits. Apricots contain vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and contain plenty of fiber. They also contain a healthy dose of iron, which is a vital element for muscle and brain health and also works to regulate body temperature. Although I like apricots, it wasn’t a fruit a bought a lot of. When I developed iron deficiency anemia however, I began buying dried apricots to snack on. They are sweet and make a healthy snack.
  10. Pumpkin Seeds—

    If you are looking for a crunchy, tasty snack, why not try some healthful seeds such as pumpkin seeds? They are good for you and packed with a bunch of feel-good nutrients. Pumpkin seeds contain a variety of nutrients including magnesium, manganese, zinc, protein, and copper. They are also high in fiber and are a good source of iron and omega 3 fats.  You can eat them alone, or add them to yogurt, smoothies and more.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹Wpadmin. “22 Shocking Iron Deficiency Anemia Statistics.” HRFnd. N.p., 23 Dec. 2014. Web. 15 May 2017.

²Nandy, Priyadarshini. “8 Amazing Apricot Benefits: The Nutritional Heavyweight Among Fruits.” Food.ndtv.com. N.p., 19 Apr. 2016. Web. 16 May 2017.

³”9 Amazing Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds.” Mercola.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2017.