April 21

Iron, Woman!

Completely exhausted. Drained. Lifeless. You want to be excited, but you’re just too tired. You want to be productive. But that requires so much energy. If you let yourself, you could fall asleep mid-commute, mid-walk or even mid-sentence. The one thing you want right now is to be completely invisible for a few minutes, just to rest. If you notice your strength and energy waning during your menstrual cycle, your fatigue might be caused by anemia.

What is Anemia?

Anemia is a condition where your body does not produce enough red blood cells or hemoglobin which binds with oxygen to ensure all your tissues are adequately oxygenated. Other causes also include heavy menstrual cycle, ulcers, cancer, and some pain relievers. Also known as “lack of blood,” anemia affects 1.62 billion people per year globally. Symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, shortness of breath and fast heartbeat.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor and find out the cause. Always err on the side of caution when your health is in question. Common forms of anemia are due to deficiency. Perhaps the best well-known deficiency causes are due to a lack of iron or a lack of Vitamin B-12. Luckily, these types are easy to treat with a healthy diet and supplementation.

If you have anemia due to a Vitamin B-12 or iron deficiency, there are so many tasty ways to help your blood and body get back on track. Consider adding some of these iron-rich foods into your diet.

  • Dark leafy greens: spinach, kale, swiss chard, etc.
  • Meat and poultry: red meats, venison, chicken
  • Liver
  • Beans
  • Nuts and seeds

To ensure you absorb the available iron from these foods, don’t forget to eat them with other foods rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, or Beta Carotene. These will ensure your body is able to absorb, break down, and use the iron to create the protein needed for hemoglobin. Examples of these delicious floods include:

  • Carrots
  • Oranges
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Squash
  • Apricots

Now with food options so irresistibly delicious, you can get creative with it! From soups to salads, appetizers to entrees, snacks to desserts, your imagination is the limit. Try throwing some spinach, oranges and almond milk in a blender for an easy, nutritious start to your morning.

A word of caution: calcium rich foods, such as cheese, yogurt, dairy milk can significantly decrease iron absorption. This is also true for foods containing anything more than small amounts of phytate. These foods include soy, whole grains, and cereal among other things. If you’re trying to increase iron, be careful to avoid combining these foods for optimal absorption.

Whether you’re constantly tired and can’t sleep enough or you can’t seem to wind down enough for a visit from the Sandman, if you want to take back control of your health and wellness, it’s best to be well informed and well-prepared. And that’s exactly what we do at The Institute For Functional Health. Not only will you learn how to reach your health goals, you’ll learn how to take care your body to have your best quality of life. Come see us today!


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