Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Part of my iron deficiency issue is that on days during my cycle I have a lot of energy issues. I took a 2 hour nap today to try and see if I could pep up for Tae Kwon Do, but the truth is that I was feeling fatigued and dizzy during Body Bar class. I couldn't lift a bar well that I kicked butt on during class on Monday. The difference: Day 1 of my period.

I'm not anemic -- yet. But I'm borderline. 

When I got my blood results back a few weeks ago that I had the deficiency I started taking supplements. I also have a protein deficit. And, as you can probably imagine, my husband found this pretty entertaining. He's a meat and potatoes kind of guy. He, of course, consumes too many carbs and proteins. Where as most of my diet is pretty fruit and vegetable based. This is a good thing. But your body absorbs iron better from red meat than it does from spinach. So I've been trying to increase my beef intake within recommended serving sizes. It is a little amusing that the medical advice for the health nut,  includes eating 3-4 oz of steak every once in a while. 

And in essence, I need more iron-rich food fueling my body and making hemoglobin. But normal things like a period, make it kind of hard. In addition, I sweat a lot, which doesn't help. 

So, today, X-man gets a haircut instead of going to Tae Kwon Do. And we'll try to go tomorrow after school, if I'm feeling better. If I'm not, then he'll go on his own and I'll sit my butt in a chair in the waiting room. 


Andrina said...

I was reading an article the other day talking about how molasses helps with iron intake - we did a moroccan lamb dish the other day that had a molasses marinade - might help trying to throw some molasses into your meals?

Dana said...

I will abstain from debating getting iron from red meat versus other sources, but here are some tips on iron-rich foods and food to help with absorption:

Vegans and vegetarians who take care of their health should know which food are particularly rich in iron so they can include them more in their diet and increase the risk of iron deficiency and anemia.

Good vegetable sources of iron include asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, parsley, potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, red kidney beans, collard greens, parsley and watercress.

Fruits that are rich in iron include apricots, dates, figs, prunes, raisins and watermelon (although watermelon is technically a vegetable).

Iron is also found in nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, in sunflower seeds, soybeans, tofu, sprouts, oats, chick peas, alfalfa, quinoa, millet and blackstrap molasses.

Vegans and vegetarians can promote the absorption of non-heme iron by increasing the intake of Vitamin C, by adding more citrus fruits, fruit juices, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage and green leafy vegetables in the diet, because this vitamin increases the absorption of iron.

Also from the CDC:

# Substances (such as polyphenols, phytates, or calcium) that are part of some foods or drinks such as tea, coffee, whole grains, legumes and milk or dairy products can decrease the amount of non-heme iron absorbed at a meal. Calcium can also decrease the amount heme-iron absorbed at a meal. However, for healthy individuals who consume a varied diet that conforms to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the amount of iron inhibition from these substances is usually not of concern.
# Some other factors (such as taking antacids beyond the recommended dose or medicine used to treat peptic ulcer disease and acid reflux) can reduce the amount of acid in the stomach and the iron absorbed and cause iron deficiency.

Looseyfur said...

Thanks, for the reminder Dana. This is all the stuff I normally eat. :-) But my body wasn't absorbing/processing it. So I'm on the supplement. And while a lot of my daily intake is very vegetarian based, I am still an omnivore, but usually fish and chicken. So red meat is a change. I'm 4 weeks into the supplement usage, so we'll see how I am in January when I have to go get a recheck.

Looseyfur said...

@Andrina, I posted a comment from my phone when I was out and about earlier that apparently didn't post. But I'd love it if you'd send the recipe. Molasses actually has a bit more iron in it than figs or raisins. It's interesting that it acts like Vitamin C (which also helps your body with absorption) though.

I do know that calcium makes absorption a challenge.

Thank you!

Loretta said...

Taking/consuming Vitamin C helps with iron absorption. So, if you're taking/eating iron-rich foods (like kale, etc.) then eat an orange at the same time or drink a glass of orange juice. We make a lot of berry-kale smoothies around here and put oj in them to sweeten and help with iron absorption. Spinach, interestingly enough, is not as iron-rich as was previously thought, which was apparently the result of a misplaced decimal point at one point when nutritional content was published at some point decades ago.
Also, interestingly enough, dark chocolate is actually significantly more iron-dense than red meat! I know in terms of calories and fat it may not end up being worth it, but it may be worth investigating. :)