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.

Oh Nuts!

Although nuts and seeds have been around since biblical times, nuts are gaining more popularity among consumers again and that’s good news. Many people today are concerned about their health and are starting to take a harder look at their diet and what they eat in between meals. Nuts are a great snack food and are not only delicious, but nutritious.

Nuts are loaded with many healthful nutrients too including protein, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium and copper. They also contain Monounsaturated fats (MUFAS), which are the good fats that help your body function optimally. While fat has got a bad rap over the years, consumers are starting to realize that all fat is not bad for you. Strive for a handful or two of nuts to include more good fats in your diet.

Nuts have other benefits, as well. They are loaded with antioxidants, which help fight free radicals that can cause cell damage. Nuts also have anti-inflammatory properties, which help fight disease. In addition, nuts contain a significant amount of fiber that helps trigger satiety and makes you feel full and satisfied.

Some of the most commonly consumed nuts include:

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • Pine Nuts
  • Brazil Nuts

Nuts make a great go to snack. They are not only easy to grab at home, but are convenient to grab when on the run, to work, sporting events, or traveling. They can be enjoyed alone, as a nut butter, in smoothies, or sprinkled on top of yogurt, Gelato, a favorite dessert and more.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

“8 Compelling Reasons to Eat Nuts (a High-fat Superfood).” Authority Nutrition. N.p., 07 Nov. 2016. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.

 

Low Fat, No Fat, or Eat Fat?

When it comes to adding fat into our diets, many people are skeptical or confused. That’s not surprising, given the low fat craze of the 90’s where we were told that fat is bad for you and that we should limit our intake of it. Many food manufacturers latched on to this notion and developed hundreds of different food products that had less fat than their original counterparts, or similar products. I am sure that many of you are aware of them, as they became popular fast (think Snack Well Cookies). The problem with low fat food however, is two-fold. First of all, fat plays a big part in how a food tastes. When the fat content of a food is reduced, or eliminated, something has to take the place of it to make it taste better. Often times, sugar or other chemicals and preservatives are added to these food products to make them tastier, which many consumers overlook, or may not aware of. This is how some people have got in trouble with weight gain over time, especially when focusing solely on low fat foods. The other problem with a low fat, or no fat diet, is that the thinking, that we all need to reduce our fat intake to avoid problems with heart disease and cholesterol, etc., was all wrong.

In an interview with Dr. Mark Hyman, in the article, Fat’s Not The Enemy, Hyman writes,”‘This whole idea is scientifically untrue. In fact, science shows just the opposite. The reality is that the more fat you eat, the more fat you lose and the better your body functions.’ Hyman who is an American physician, author and scholar, promotes this theory further with his most recent book, Eat Fat, Get Thin: Why The Fat We Eat Is The Key To Sustained Weight Loss And Vibrant Health. The book focuses on incorporating high-fat, plant-based foods into the diet for a healthy life.”¹

Our bodies need fat to function properly and perform peak functions. Instead of focusing on low fat, or no fat, where we often look at the total fat of food, we need to look at both good fats and bad fats, which affect our bodies differently. While there are a variety of fats including saturated fat, monosaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and transfats, it is probably easiest for consumers to focus on the monosaturated fats (MUFAS), as these are good fats which are good for our bodies and are plant based. These healthy fats can be found in a variety of whole foods including avocados, nuts, seeds, olives and dark chocolate.

good-fats

Other healthy fats can be found in some fish, coconut oil, olive oil, etc. Trans-fats, on the other hand, are not so good and can be found in some animals and animal products such as milk. Other trans-fats are man-made and are actually created by an industrialization process which makes vegetable oil into a more solid form than some other oils available. This type of oil is called partially hydrogenated oil and is found in many processed foods, (think Dorito’s, potato chips, crackers, and many other food products).

potato-chips

We all should do our best to avoid hydrogenated oils, as they are bad for our body. While eating them on occasion is probably OK, it is best to replace them with more healthy fat options for a healthier diet and life style.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:
¹Singh, Pooja. “Fat’s Not the Enemy: Mark Hyman.” Http://www.livemint.com/. N.p., 19 Sept. 2016. Web. 20 Sept. 2016.