Updated: Sep 10, 2018
One of the most common complaints I hear from clients is feeling fatigued. 45% of people mention they experience extreme fatigue, even with getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night. This can be attributed to an array of things including hormonal imbalances, high stress levels and nutrient deficiencies. The most common nutrient deficiencies that can effect energy levels include iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.
Without enough iron, your body can't produce enough hemoglobin in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen to parts of our bodies like muscle and tissues.
Anyone can be deficient in iron but it is most commonly found in athletes, vegans, vegetarians, pregnant women, menstruating women and those who have donated blood or just had surgery.
Symptoms of Iron Deficiency:
cold hands and feet
shortness of breath
strange cravings for things like dirt, clay or ice
High intensity exercise
Digestive disorders that prevent proper absorption
Heavy menstruation in women
Heme vs. Non- Heme Iron:
The two forms of dietary iron are heme Iron and non-heme Iron. Heme iron is found only in meat, poultry, seafood and fish (animal products). Non-heme iron is found in plant-based foods like grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
Foods Rich In Iron:
Beans and legumes
Leafy greens such as spinach or kale
Red meat and poultry
Iron fortified cereals and breads
Of course getting iron from your diet should be your main focus. Combining foods rich in iron with foods that contain vitamin C is best for absorption. Also avoid having excess caffeine as this can deplete the body of not only iron but other nutrients as well. Protein in soy and dairy products can also inhibit heme iron from being properly absorbed.
What to look for in a supplement: As with any supplements, you always want to look for good quality products. Look for an iron supplement that is formulated with vitamin C, folic acid and b12 to help maintain red blood cell production. One supplement that I love right now is from MegaFood called the Blood Builder. It is really easy to digest, you could even take it on an empty stomach!
Always check with your doctor before taking iron supplements. Excess iron in the body can come with complications such as stomach issues and can cause damage to the brain and liver. Your medical doctor or naturopath can request tests to be done to check ferritin (a protein that stores iron) and iron levels. They will review your results with you to determine if you need to supplement or not. Don't just guess if you think you might be deficient!
Try this protein and iron rich green smoothie with maca, kale and tahini. These three are excellent plant based sources of iron. Bonus points if you add cacao nibs!
Iron Rich Green Smoothie
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 scoop plant based protein
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 tbsp tahini
1 cup kale
1 tsp maca powder
1 scoop MegaFood Daily Purify
Combine all ingredients and blend. Add in extra ice if needed. Top with cacao nibs, coconut flakes and
This is not a sponsored post! I found this brand a few months ago and really like their products. I will always share if it is sponsored and will only share things I use and like myself!