Need To Increase Your Iron Intake?

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Low iron levels is very common in women and especially in pregnant women. I’ve always been lucky enough to have good iron stores, however I just got my latest iron blood results back and my levels have dropped significantly in the last few months due to pregnancy.  It’s no wonder I’ve been feeling so tired recently - bub is sucking me dry! If you have been feeling tired or are struggling to get out of bed, then it’s probably worth you having a chat to your healthcare provider and getting your iron levels checked.

What are the signs of low iron?

  • Fatigue and difficulty waking up in the mornings
  • Breathlessness
  • Feeling weak
  • Pale complexion
  • Dizziness
  • Swollen or sore tongue
  • Cravings for dirt, ice or clay
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Heart palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Inability to concentrate

What can we do to increase iron stores?

  • Eat more foods that are high in iron (see below).
  • Increase your daily intake of vitamin C as this important nutrient helps with the absorption of iron.
  • Supplement with a good quality and bio-available form of iron such as ferrous di or bi-glycinate.
  • Iron is one of those minerals that doesn’t play nicely with other minerals so it is best taken on an empty stomach, away from other supplements and medications.
  • Taking a combination of different forms of  iron (such as liquid and tablet) has shown to be effective.
  • Avoid taking iron supplements or eating high iron foods near to calcium supplements or foods that are high in calcium such as dairy as calcium binds up iron which means that you won’t absorb it very well.
  • Avoid taking iron supplements with your cup of tea as the tannins in tea also bind up iron.
  • Make sure that you are getting enough B12 and folic acid as these important B vitamins assist in the absorption and metabolism of iron.

What foods are high in Iron?

  • Black strap molasses
  • Red meat (especially kangaroo), liver and kidney
  • Almonds, pine nuts
  • Sunflower, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds
  • Apricots
  • Avocado
  • Oysters, clams, mussels and shrimp
  • Parsley, spinach, broccoli,  kale, roasted pumpkin
  • Tahini
  • Cacao and raw chocolate (contains some caffeine)
  • Spirulina
  • Wheat germ
  • Dried Thyme, Basil and Oregano
  • Any type of beans – kidney, lima, pinto, black and soya beans
  • Lentils
  • Tofu

What foods are high in vitamin C?

  • Citrus fruits
  • Blueberries, strawberries and kiwis
  • Papaya, pineapple and guavas
  • Broccoli, Brussel sprouts,  raw cabbage, cauliflower
  • Fresh parsley, thyme and cress
  • Kale, spinach and mustard greens
  • Capsicum/ peppers and tomatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Goji berries

Iron-Power Bliss Balls Recipe

This is a great snack to make as it’s packed full of iron and b vitamins.

 Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp spirulina
  • 30 dates
  • 2 tbsp of black strap molasses
  • 1 cup of almonds
  • ½ cup of sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder

*This recipe will make approx 14-16 bliss balls.

Method

  • Grind the nuts and seeds in a food processor until they are like a fine powder consistency and then empty into a bowl.
  • Blend the dates in a food processor until they form a paste.
  • Add in the ground nuts/seeds to the paste and blend together in the food processor.
  • Then add in the spirulina, cacao and black  strap molasses. Blend together.
  • Roll into balls with your hands and leave them in the fridge to set for a few hours.

 

So if you’re feeling more fatigued than usual and you can’t put it down to anything in particular, make sure you get yourself checked out.

Also I can’t stress enough – before starting any form of iron supplementation, you must get your iron levels checked first .

Enjoy the iron-power bliss balls!

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Michelle is a qualified Naturopath, Nutritionist, Reflexologist and Reiki practitioner who is passionate about living a holistic lifestyle and helping others to achieve their health goals. She is also a Jungle Body Dance Fitness Instructor, which not only keeps her fit but also helps her to inspire others to feel confident and get in shape.

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