Why is IRON so Important?

 
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Just to be clear, I'm talking about the mineral, not the Arnold Schwarzenegger-esque dumbbell that you pump 😆 Although, both have their...strengths :D

The mineral, Iron does a ton for the body: it helps with cellular energy production, human growth and development, healthy brain function and the ability to maintain a healthy body temperature. Iron is considered an essential mineral because it is needed to make hemoglobin, a part of blood cells and is a mineral that is found in every cell of the body.

 According to DrAxe.com, "the amount of iron that someone needs daily in order to prevent an iron deficiency varies a lot depending on their age and gender. Women need more iron than men do because they lose a certain amount of iron during their normal menstrual cycle each month" (1)

And because of regular monthly cycles, women who are between the ages of 19 to 50 need to get the most iron of any group − about 18 milligrams of iron each day (1)

 

Iron Deficiency Signs and Symptoms: 

  • Anemia

  • Chronic fatigue or low energy

  • Pale or yellowing of the skin

  • Shortness of breath

  • Abnormal heartbeats

  • Signs of a hormone imbalance

  • Trouble exercising

  • Muscle weakness

  • Changes in appetite

  • Trouble getting good sleep

  • Changes in weight

  • Cough

  • Trouble concentrating, learning, remembering things

  • Sores on your mouth or tongue

  • Mood changes

  • And basically any other normal symptoms of being very tired and fatigued

Non-Anemic Deficiency: Who's At Risk?

  • Menstruating women

  • Pregnant women

  • Vegans and vegetarians

  • Athletes - especially women.

  • If you've recently donated blood

Wondering how to prevent an iron deficiency with food? Here are the 12 best sources of naturally occuring iron that can help prevent an iron deficiency

  • Liver (from beef) (2) — 4 ounces: 5.5 milligrams

  • White beans (3) — 1 cup cooked: 6.6 milligrams

  • Lentils (4) — 1 cup cooked: 6.5 milligrams

  • Spinach (5) — 1 cup cooked: 6.4 milligrams

  • Kidney beans (6) —1 cup cooked: 3.9 milligrams

  • Chickpeas (7) — 1 cup cooked: 4.7 milligrams

  • Duck (8)— half of one breast: 3.5 milligrams

  • Sardines (9) — 1 can/3.75 ounces: 2.7 milligrams

  • Grass-Fed Beef (10) — 3 ounces: 1.7 milligrams

  • Lamb (11) — 3 ounces: 1.3 milligrams

  • Blackstrap molasses (12) — 1 tablespoon: 0.9 milligrams

  • Pumpkin Seeds (13) — 1/2 cup: 1 milligram

 
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Iron Supplements


Not everyone can consume these foods based on their lifestyle preferences. If that's the case, you may consider taking a good quality supplement to get the daily recommended dose of iron. Always remember to check with your health care professional before taking any supplements if you have a other conditions that you're concerned about. 

Although I'm all for getting as much minerals and vitamins naturally through whole food sources, I've battled low iron in the past and some days I know I'm not getting enough. I was a vegetarian for a year (back in 2013) and every time I'd get my blood work done, my doctor would mention a lower level of iron and recommend that I take a supplement. Even now, I don't eat a whole lot of red meat or legumes on a daily basis so I've been taking MegaFood's Blood Builder

This is at higher price point only because of its incredibly high quality ingredients. It's made with vegan, organic ingredients that are easily digested and not upsetting to the stomach.  And to be honest, while that lower priced iron supplement may be easier on your wallet, it's probably not doing your BODY any favours. Low-quality ingredients and lower dosage per tablet contribute to (most) low priced supplements out there. This bottle comes with 90 tablets, so that's 3 months worth, it's a little more justifiable once you take that into consideration. 

Disclaimer: I'm NOT getting paid to post about this product. I did receive the product for free as I have a partnership with MegaFood, but will not be getting paid via commissions or posting about it. This is totally my unbiased review based on my own experience and other reviews I've read. 

Did you or do you struggle with low-iron? How did you deal/are you dealing with it? Leave a comment below :)