I was talking a little bit about being tired and possibly low in iron. Iron tablets, in my opinion, are pretty awful to take. They are heavy and they upset my stomach. Also, iron tablets should only be taken under the supervision and advice of a Doctor. However, if you are feeling a little low and want to increase your iron levels, there is a lot you can do by changing up your diet. Food is medicine!
* Please though if you are worried about your iron levels get yourself checked out by a Doctor immediately and follow their advice. I’m not a Doctor, a Dietician or a Nutritionist, this is not intended as advice.
There are two kinds of iron available in food heme iron and non-heme iron (Source). Heme iron is much easier for our bodies to absorb and comes from animal sources such as meat fish and poultry (Source). Non-heme iron is still helpful, however, we generally get a lot less iron from these food sources. To increase the iron absorbed and help our body to absorb iron from these food sources it is always a good idea to consume foods high in Vitamin C at the same time (Source).
Some foods that are high in Vitamin C include Tomatoes, Citrus fruits and Capsicum just to name a few. So there are benefits to roasting tomatoes with your eggs or having a glass or Orange Juice with your bacon.
The good news is that there are really quite a lot of food sources which are iron rich or contain some iron from which we can benefit! There are also of course many food products now available that are fortified with iron, such as cereals and breads. However, my preference is always to eat less processed foods, but fortified foods are certainly a good option.
For a long a thorough list of iron rich foods check on the American Red Cross website. However, to name a few that score highly from heme sources – liver, mussels, oysters, steak, sardines and turkey (Source). Non-heme sources- spinach, beans, pumpkin seeds, broccoli and dried apricots (Source).
I’m hoping to put together a couple of recipes for iron rich meals for anyone who is interested. Might take me a few days, however, so stay tuned!
Have you ever used food as medicine? Have you ever suffered from low iron levels? How did you correct it? For the vegans and vegetarians out there do you find it difficult to obtain enough iron from your food? How do you manage it?