Do you find yourself feeling constantly tired or lethargic? Are you stressed more often than you should? Or gasp for air just from walking up a few stairs, even though you’re physically fit and active? These may all be signs that you have an iron deficiency... but why do our bodies even need iron? What does it actually do? Essentially, iron is responsible for carrying oxygen via red blood cells to the rest of our body. If our bodies lack iron, they lack oxygen, so it has to work harder to do anything.
It’s a big problem for many of us, but especially for women as they require more Iron intake per day than men. For example, recent studies show that 12% of women between the ages of 20 – 50 are iron deficient. Could you be one of them? Here’s a list of the 10 most common symptoms of iron deficiency:
- You’re tired all the time
- You have heavy periods
- Your face or tongue looks pale
- You get out of breath
- You have restless leg syndrome
- You get headaches
- You’re craving dirt or ice
- You feel anxious
- You’re losing your hair
- You’re gaining weight easily
If you recongnise three or more of these symptoms, it could be due to an iron deficiency and potentially lead to anemia varying in severity. If anemia is left untreated, our immune system (our body’s natural defense against illness and infection) can be compromised. In severe cases you may be at risk of developing heart or lung problems but, thankfully, everyday iron deficiency is treatable by eating the right things.
We all know a great food-source of iron is meat… especially liver, which is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. But, for those who choose not to eat meat, finding alternatives to supplement iron intake with plant-based foods is key. There is also a clever hack to increase your intake: Vitamin C can help your body absorb more iron. This is one of the reasons you’re likely to find a sprig of parsley on your steak: not just as a pretty garnish, but eating parsley (which is crammed with Vitamin C) will increase the absorption of iron in the meat. How clever. If meat and parsley is not your thing, here are some top foods rich in Vitamin C:
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for Iron for the average adult aged 20-50, is 8-10mg for men and a whopping 15-18mg for women! Just to put this into context, this would mean you would have to eat one of or a combination of the following examples of iron-rich foods PER DAY!
- 100g of Goose or duck liver
- 120g of Soy Beans
- 150g of Chicken or beef liver
- 130g of pistachios (that’s 181 nuts!)
- 450g of lentils
- 750g of spinach
- 1kg of whole wheat
- 1.8kg of beetroot
Now, you could try chowing 181 pistachio nuts (and the 800kcal that come with it) or munch your way through almost 2kg of beetroot, or you get all of your dietary iron in one 100ml shot. With your daily Vitamin C, and more…
At Nell Natural Elements we are passionate about helping you achieve optimal health, so we have developed a smart organic plant-based daily shot that can meet 100% of your daily vitamins and nutrients your body needs, such as Iron, Vitamin A, K, C, B6, Riboflavin, Magnesium, and Manganese.
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