Fitness Minutes: (9,122)
3/15/13 3:31 P
I track my iron daily and am sometimes too low, but my blood work shows my iron limit is fine which is great since I'm vegan and don't rely on meat for iron. I do make a conscious effort to eat an iron-rich diet since anemia seems to run in the family.
I start my day with a green smoothie (usually kale, as spinach can inhibit iron absorption and fruits so iron+vit C). I wait 2 hours before and after the smoothie before I drink tea or coffee since caffeine can also inhibit iron absorption.
A diet rich in iron means a lot of dark green veggies and nuts and legumes: broccoli, broccolini, brussel sprouts, different varieties of kale or spinach, collards, mustard greens, etc. Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, etc. Navy beans, chickpeas, black beans, and so on...focus snacks and at least half a meal on an iron rich ingredient.
I also cook with cast iron pans. Lots of times I'm scraping up the bottom of the pan with a metal spatula so I'm sure some of the iron of the pan is going into my food.
I've heard of some people making a molasses "tea" by steeping 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses with hot water or even mixing molasses with orange juice but I can't stomach it. I'll stick with dark green leafy veggies, green smoothies, and
3/15/13 1:50 P
I got the results from my blood test today and my iron levels are fine. I still haven't managed to get within the recommended range in a day's food, although I got close to it once. I'm having so much vitamin C that I've stopped bothering to track it, so that's probably helping with absorbtion of iron. I'm eating more fortified breakfast cereals as they do give an iron boost, but it looks as if I haven't got to worry about it. Everything else was good in the blood test too - the nurse said I must be having a very good diet! (I didn't remind her that my cholesterol has always been better than I deserve - though it had gone down from 4.2 to 4 so I must be doing something right!)
2/15/13 11:57 A
Thanks again for all the great suggestions. I had an appointment at the doctor's surgery today and mentioned iron so they've arranged a blood test - so I'll stay off the multivits till I get the results of that (in 4 weeks time). But in the meantime I'll try more of those iron boosting foods.
Fitness Minutes: (18,215)
2/14/13 9:33 P
I also struggle to get enough iron. Fortified cereals seem to be a good way to get them in, aside from the obvious beans and greens. I take a multivitamin daily and have taken an iron supplement when anemic in the past.
When I found out I was anemic, my blood tests came back so low on iron the doctor told me until I went through menopause, I either had to take iron supplements or stop giving blood when the Red Cross blood drive came through at work. (at least until my hemoglobin came up) I had been too low on iron to donate a few times, but it turned out the Red Cross's standard for "too low" was much lower than the doctor's.
Once I started taking iron supplements my hemoglobin went up and I started getting more oxygen, and felt much better. Anemia isn't something to brush off. It is much better to get iron through food if possible, though, because iron pills are hell to digest.
Fitness Minutes: (16,557)
2/14/13 1:40 P
I have never managed to consume the "recommended" amount of iron unless I've been eating too much. I don't actually believe that it's possible to do. And I think the recommended amount is unreasonable and unnecessary. How can the body need so much of something that is so hard to find "in the wild"? I eat plenty of greens and lentils and molasses and so on, but am consistently very low, but my blood tests have been perfect for years, so what's going on? Why am I not iron-deficient?
Greens have a lot of iron in them, but for your system to actually process the iron you need to couple it with something that has vitamin c. For example, I eat a lot of kale, spinach, and collard greens. I couple that with red, yellow or orange peppers.
2/14/13 6:12 A
Thanks for those ideas. Becky, that website is amazing. And top of the list was fortified breakfast cereals - so easy! Thank you everyone who helped - I'll definitely add lentils to soups more often, and try to find out what cream of wheat is!
I've had to take iron supplements a few times because of low iron. If you can get iron through your foods, it's much better than having to take a supplement! Those things are nasty, you might as well swallow an iron bolt as try to digest an iron pill. Cream of Wheat with a few tablespoons of blackstrap molasses makes a great iron-rich breakfast to start your day.
You could also take a multi vitamin-mineral supplement to boost intake.
If really concerned, talk to your doctor regarding a blood test.
2/13/13 7:43 P
(that said, I KNOW my iron intake is "too low" as i can't seem to eat enough of these foods on a 1200 calorie food intake. I do the best i can and take a 1-a-day vitamin with iron (not every day, just on days I KNOW i'm way below my RDA), to "top me up."
2/13/13 7:41 P
You may be getting more iron than your nutrition tracker shows. Particularly if you use a lot of "user input" items. Sometimes the items only list the calories/fat/protein/carbs but NOT the vitamins and minerals.
Good sources of iron include meat, eggs, dark-leafy greens, beans, lentils....
2/13/13 6:38 P
I actually had to start taking iron supplements....my labs showed me to be almost anemic...then three months later, new labs showed me okay. i know that didn't answer your question. I think it is hard to get everything we need when we are eating low calorie.
2/13/13 5:47 P
I decided to track how much iron I'm having and am consistently having well below the recommended amount even though I've been trying to eat healthily. Has anyone else found this? Apart from pills, what could I be eating to boost my iron intake?
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