Iron Rich Foods
When iron levels are low, and/or anemia is present, this can really affect our well-being, especially when living with fibromyalgia. We need to consider making iron rich foods part of our weekly menu plan.
What’s low iron got to do with it? Iron levels fluctuate in the body and it is certainly not the only predictor of low energy, fatigue or malaise. However, it can be a contributor when a real deficiency occurs. Low blood iron depletes oxygen levels and this in turn can create a cycle of deficiency and fatigue..
Many years ago, vitamin manufacturers started creating iron-free multi-vitamins because they found that iron in the form of supplementation was not the safest or most effective way to obtain iron.
There will however be occasions where an iron supplement is needed. If you and your doctor agree, then seek out a safe brand such as Metagenics.
If your iron is not tested extremely low, then you may want to seek out natural iron in the form of iron rich foods. And, because CFS/ME or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, is often the instigator of extreme fatigue, check out our article on CFS linked at bottom of this article.
What Are Best Iron Rich Foods?
Vegetable sources include beets, dark leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli and artichokes. Concentrated protein sources with iron include organ meats, egg yolks and turkey.
It is good to get a variety of iron rich foods and ROTATE them to create balance and variety.
To better absorb naturally occurring iron, it is helpful to eat them with foods high in VITAMIN C, such as citrus fruits.
The food preparation is also key as I often talk about. When we shred, cut, blend and sufficiently break down the cells of the whole food, we are better able to absorb and utilize the nutrients.
However, please note that some foods are better shredded while others are better in a blended drink and some can be done either way.
In some of my recipes for instance, I specifically say to shred OR to blend depending on the palatability and form of each recipe.
In my shredded beet salad, it is best to use a box shredder. I have often been asked if it is ok to just throw the beets in a food processor, yet the consistency of the salad is not the same and palatability will suffer.
That said, we should always experiment to find what works best for each of us.
The beet salad shown here is an excellent example of the synergy between a naturally occurring iron rich food AND the citrus food high in vitamin C to compliment absorption.
If you have been tested low for iron, consider making these iron rich foods part of your weekly menu plan.
NOTE : If you are a vegan, it is important to get your iron and B-12 levels checked as needed. Although my plan includes many vegan meals and recipes, certain blood and body types perform best on a paleo type diet (meat eater) and it is essential to know this before adopting one diet over another.
Now, back to the beet salad; although I have a few different versions, (some listed on the recipe page) for the sake of this article, I will note the beet/orange salad recipe. Beets are an amazing food for regenerating the blood, but only SMALL amounts are needed at one time for better tolerance. Again, it is the SYNERGY of the ingredients that makes this iron rich salad effective. And yes, the taste is amazing too !!
Beet/Orange Salad : (3-4 srvgs)
2 small beets, peeled and shredded finely
1 medium orange (including about 1/4 of the rind)
1 small granny smith apple, peeled and shredded finely
1 tsp. organic olive oil
1/8 tsp. sea salt (optional)
After finely shredding the beets and apple in a bowl, cut the entire orange into very small pieces, including about a quarter of the outer rind (if desired)
(The rind is great for breaking down and removing mucous from the digestive tract)
Add the olive oil and salt and blend well with a fork. This recipe is good for about 4 servings.
How about some turkey and artichoke hearts on a bed of leafy greens?
That would be another iron rich meal combination using a concentrated animal protein source. So much variety in creating healthy iron rich and nutrient rich food combinations.
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