You would think with all the research I’ve done on nutrition, that I would be the healthiest chicken in the coop, but not quite. Sometimes, life can get nutty and I forget to pay close attention to what my body is trying to tell me.
A few months back, I noticed that I was feeling extra fatigued, light-headed when getting up, and my hands and feet were freezing like a vampire’s. At first, I thought nothing of it. I figured that my crazy work schedule and late nights were causing me to feel this way, but it turned out that I was way off.
While browsing through nutritional youtube videos, I came across a Dr. Oz episode about recognizing and treating Iron deficiency. Hmmm…
After watching a few minutes of it, I was convinced that I was also iron deficient, a VERY common type of anemia that most women experience. Iron is important in aiding red blood cells in carrying oxygen throughout the body for optimum energy and performance.
- Extreme fatigue
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Cold hands and feet
- Inflammation or soreness of your tongue
- Increased likelihood of infections
- Brittle nails
- Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt or pure starch
- Poor appetite, especially in infants and children with iron deficiency anemia
- Restless legs syndrome — an uncomfortable tingling or crawling feeling in your legsfeeling fatigue and weak, light-headedness and dizzy, and pale skin and cold hands and feet.
OMG! I swear I thought I was supplementing my diet with enough iron but I guess not. I’ll explain what I was doing wrong in a bit, but let’s continue with more helpful info first.
According to Dr. Oz, iron deficiency is very common among women and can result from a few things from heavy blood flow during periods and lack of iron-rich foods in one’s diet. After Dr. Oz diagnosed me via TV, he went on to explain the next step of “treating” iron deficiency through both food and supplements.
Ok, so there are two types of iron, “heme” iron (found in meats) and “non-heme” found in veggies, whole grains and beans. The best way to get iron in our bodies is through “heme” / meat iron. (see image) “Non-heme” iron from veggies require other combinations of nutrients to help our bodies absorb them. Another issue with non-heme iron is that certain ingredients can “inhibit” the body from absorbing it like tannins and polyphenols that are found in coffee, tea and chocolate!
Spinach is one of my favorite iron-rich veggies that I include throughout the week, but being such a coffee and tea lover, I can see how my body is not fully absorbing certain nutrients that I need. It’s really amazing how the body works! Like I always mention throughout my posts, moderation is key.
On a happier note, some effective enhancers of iron are Vitamin C (found in most fruits and veggies) and even sugar and alcohol (beer and wine)
I don’t want to get too technical on you, so I found a great link for you to gather more info on inhibitors and enhancers. Click here!
Immediately after the show, I made a list of the dietary changes that I needed to implement to boost my energy and performance and drove to the grocery store!
I filled my cart with iron-rich foods like lean red meat (as lean as possible), pumpkin seeds, raisins, kale and collard greens, iron-enrished whole grains (Bob’s Red Mill 5 grain), mussels and even a piece beef liver. I grew up with eating liver, so I actually enjoy it once in a while! One ingredient that I made sure to buy was THYME… This yummy herb can provide your body with up to 688% of your RDA of iron…
It has been two weeks since I have tweeked my diet and I am definitely feeling way more energetic and my feet are actually feeling normal!
Iron deficiency can lead to health complications, so please share this post with anyone you know who may benefit from this.
If you have a personal story on this topic, please share with the rest of us!
|Iron rich food||Iron Content||RDA % *||Calories|
|Other Iron rich foods||Iron content||RDA %||Calories|
|Thyme ground||124mg||688% *||276|
|Curry Powder||58mg||321% *||233|
|Oat & Wheat Bran||45mg||250% *||330|
|Cinnamon ground||38mg||210% *||-|
|Garam Masala||33mg||183% *||380|
|Oxo cube||24.5mg||136% *||230|
|Special K cereal||13mg||73%||370|
|Soya flour low fat||9mg||50%||350|
|Red Kidney beans||2.5mg||14%||100|
Values for iron rich foods may vary between individual portions, these values should only be used as a guide!