As you may well realize iron is an important mineral for the body. It is required to produce red blood cells. Red blood cells contain haemoglobin.
Haemoglobin is an iron-rich protein that is needed to carry oxygen from the lungs to all of your body muscles and organs.
Iron is also necessary for a healthy immune system, responsible for the production of white blood cells and vital antibodies that help your body to fight disease.
So you can see that without sufficient iron: firstly you will be more susceptible to frequent infections such as colds and flu.
How Your Energy is Produced!
Your production of energy comes from glucose, iron is a necessary nutrient for the production of glucose. Glucose being the main fuel for both your brain and your body as a whole.
This is why when you are low on iron often you will feel lethargic and have trouble concentrating.
Healthy glucose production comes from foods that the body can easily convert such as wholegrain pastas, vegetable and lean meat proteins and fruits.
Women will become iron deficient more easily than that of a man, due to menstruation.
If left unnoticed or treated this can lead to anaemia, a condition that is characterised by low levels of red blood cells.
Signs of Low Levels of Iron:
Pale skin, tiredness.
Feeling unable to tolerate strenuous activity or exercise.
Difficulty thinking or concentrating.
Suffering from regular bouts of ill health such as colds and flu.
So what can you do!
Looking at this in terms of what is best for your long term and overall health. I must mention that you don’t have to start eating copious amounts of red meat to improve your iron levels. In fact this may not help a great deal especially if a major part of the problem isn’t that you are not necessarily getting enough iron, but that your body may well be having trouble metabolizing it.
If you are not vegetarian but don’t want to start eating red meat again, looking at other animal based foods that are rich in iron include: Lean Chicken, Turkey, Pork, Fish and Eggs.
Whether you are vegetarian or not a great healthy way to improve your consumption of iron rich foods whilst also supporting improved metabolism of the iron that you are consuming. These foods include wholegrain bread, wheat germ, legumes (lentils, peas, baked beans, humus), nuts and seeds (LSA mix, peanut butter, almond spread, tahini), parsley, mint, green leafy vegetables (spinach and kale) and dried apricots. To help with the absorption or metabolism of iron it is important to include fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C as this greatly increases the absorption of iron. So freshly squeezed orange, grapefruit or lemon juice: Kiwi fruit, berries and capsicum are great sources of Vitamin C.