Give yourself an energy boost by overcoming iron deficiency.

Do you ever wonder where all of your energy has gone? Looking back, it’s hard to remember how we made it through our adolescent years full of school and extracurricular activities! Although the life of an adult can be overloaded with strenuous responsibility, full-time jobs, and a family, there are often additional factors affecting your productivity and energy levels. How great would it be if you could give yourself an extra boost and get the most out of each day?

Iron deficiency is quite common, especially since food today is often stripped of its nutritious properties. Iron is one of the many minerals that can be absorbed through food. It’s attributed to energy and it’s vital to your body functioning properly. Iron is part of the protein hemoglobin and works with myoglobin, both of which are responsible for the delivery of oxygen to the body’s muscles and tissues.

Symptoms of iron deficiency include: a lack of energy, ridges in nail beds, headaches, increased heart rate, or a pounding heart. Long-term iron deficiency can lead to anemia, and while it may be prevented, it’s often hereditary! Anemia is the most common blood condition, and 3.5 million Americans are affected every year.2 If anemia runs in your family, take a simple test at your next doctor’s appointment for your red blood cell count and make sure you’re staying aware of your iron levels. Women ages 19-50 are recommended to take 18 mg of iron daily, and 8 mg is recommended for men.1

If you’re suffering from insufficient levels of iron, here are some great sources of iron to help you pick up your energy:

  • Red meat—the leaner, the better
  • Spinach—dark, leafy vegetables
  • Tuna—contains heme iron, a form of iron that’s easily absorbed
  • Soybeans—contains ferritin, a highly usable source of iron3
  • Lentils—eating 1 cup (200 g) of lentils a day can satisfy 36% of your recommended daily iron intake4
  • Olives—1 cup of olive = 4.4 mg of iron
  • Dried fruits and nuts—dried prunes, apricots, and raisins promote blood circulation; cashews also help the body utilize iron
  • Cereal and bread—whole grain, fortified (i.e. Grape Nuts, Frosted Wheats, Honey Nut Chex)
  • Dark chocolate—preferably at least 60% cocoa
  • Multivitamins—supplements of iron

There are two types of iron, heme from meat, poultry, and fish, and non-heme from plant sources. Heme iron is better absorbed than non-heme iron. However, you don’t have to eat meat to get adequate iron. You can better absorb iron from plant sources by pairing them with vitamin C foods such as oranges, tomatoes, etc.

Most of all, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Nothing is worse than running on a lack of sleep as well as having low iron. Another trick that’s especially great for vegans or vegetarians is to cook in cast iron cookware. Using this cookware to prepare food helps leach iron into food, especially if you’re cooking acidic foods.

Now go get that energy boost!


Kayleigh Jardine

iFit Trainer