Iron. Just like ironing, it’s something which many folks seem to have a trouble with. Many female folks are told they have iron deficient anaemia at some point in their lives. On the rare occasion our men folk may have issues with it too. However, unlike ironing, problems with iron levels such as anaemia can be easy fixed. As an aside, I have solved my ironing problem by just not having clothes that actually need to be ironed.
Why it makes us tired.
The iron that is in the food we eat is used by our bodies to form haemoglobin. This molecule, haemoglobin is a unit in the blood which binds oxygen to a red blood cell for transportation around the body. If we don’t have enough iron, we are unable to effectively and efficiently carry the oxygen to our muscles and cells. Therefore, this means our cells will not be operating at optimum levels; leading to fatigue and muscle weakness.
No rest for the wicked.
The fatigue experienced from low iron won’t be alleviated by rest. I’ve seen athletes lose a lot of strength and stamina due to low iron levels. Women have been in tears in clinic because they are just too shattered to do the bear minimum, they need to get through the week. No matter what they eat, how much coffee they drink, and how much sleep they get, they are buggered.
But I eat meat!
Yup, eating meat can be a good source of heme iron; however, like all nutrients, just because you eat something, doesn’t mean you’re utilising it fully. There are a few things that can lower your absorption of iron and lead to iron deficient anaemia. If you’re not combining iron with Vitamin C, you may hinder your uptake. If you have auto-immune or inflammatory disease or gut dysbiosis you may not be absorbing the iron you eat., Finally, if you eat iron rich foods with iron blockers such as alcohol, caffeiner calcium you may be inhibiting iron absorption in your gut.
What else SHOULD I eat?
Like all nutrients, its best to make sure you’re eating a fresh, wholefood diet. By mixing up your sources of iron you limit flavour fatigue and increase the variety of other nutrients you’ll be consuming. Some good animal sources of iron include; liver (preferably organic), kangaroo, lean red meats, and sardine. Alternate these up with some great plant-based sources; leafy greens, legumes, pumpkin seeds, and dried apricots.
My iron’s low, what next?
You’ve been told you have iron deficient anaemia? That’s okay, fret not! It’s always best to follow the advice of your primary care physician. If you want to work with me to get your iron, or anything else, in check book an appointment here.
- Jenna Verhoeven
- anaemia, food sources, gut health, nutrition