- Alyson Chaney
Pumping Iron? How about eating it?!
Anemia caused by an iron deficiency is one of the leading nutritional disorders in the world. With an Iron deficiency, the lack of oxygen available to body tissues can cause feelings of anxiety.
Iron helps your red blood cells carry oxygen to your tissues. When you have low levels of iron less oxygen gets to your cells, resulting in fatigue and weakness.
Aside from fatigue, iron deficiency may also make you more at risk for depression. Good news, research has shown that a marker of stored iron called ferritin was significantly lower in depressed people. This tends to improve or resolve as iron levels are corrected.
Fun fact, consuming spinach and other leafy greens with fat helps your body absorb the carotenoids.S omake sure to eat it with olive oil. I know you’re asking what the eff are carotenoids. Don’t worry, I gotcha.
Carotenoids are a class of plant chemicals(phytonutrients) and are found in the cells of a variety of plants, algae, and bacteria. They help plants absorb light energy for use in photosynthesis. They also have an important antioxidant function of deactivating free radicals. Vitamin C will also help your body absorb the type of iron found in leafy green vegetables, and since plant-based iron is not as bioavailable in the body, pairing these helps the absorption!
A great high Iron breakfast could be tofu, mushroom, bell pepper, and spinach scramble sauteed in olive oil.
To come up with some other awesome food pairings, take a look at the following foods which are high in Iron.
I bet some of you are saying right now, ok, that’s a lot of work to worry about food pairing and absorption… cant I just eat a steak? Short answer...Yes, you can. Heres a part that I want you to read, digest, and make a decision for yourself.
Here is a comparison and some literal food for thought,
7 ounces or 198 grams of cooked lentils has 6.6mg of Iron
7 ounces or 200 grams of ground beef has 5.4 mg of Iron
So yes, you could eat meat to get your Iron, but meat produces heme iron. Dietary iron is found in two forms, heme, and non-heme iron.
Heme iron, which is present mainly in meat, poultry, and fish, is well absorbed in the body. However, heme iron has been linked to coronary heart disease, hardening of the arteries, stroke, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, arthritis, cancer, and other serious medical conditions.
Non-heme iron, which accounts for the majority of the iron in plants, is not absorbed as well within our bodies and is why you should pair it with certain types of food to make for better absorption.
Here is a website to read more on Heme vs Non-Heme Iron if you are interested in learning more!
You know the important foods to eat to support your iron intake and boost your mood! I’m pumping the Iron and hope you are too! See what I did there?! Ok, maybe its a bad mom joke, but it’s the best I got.