I have been feeling drained recently.
I went to collect my blood results the other day and the doctor informed me that my iron was way below what it should be at a measly 3.2 μMol/l when the usual range varies from 8.8 – 27.0 μMol/l. This is a wide gap and can depend on person to person. I don’t know if it is psychological after hearing this but I have noticed that sometimes I wake up tired and all I want to do is relax all day. I see people much older than me running around with more energy and I wonder what happened!
I really hope I have found my answer and now the only thing to do is – up my iron intake :) The doctor gave me iron tablets but to be honest I am not a big fan. I realise it’s important and I do have to take them until my next blood test to check if my iron levels are back up in a couple of months, but i’m really hoping to focus on a more dietary plan to maintain levels.
A lack of iron in the body causes iron deficiency anemia, which is actually very common, especially in women. Now for some science: with insufficient amounts of iron, the body is unable to produce enough haemoglobin – a substance that is needed for red blood cells to deliver oxygen around the body. And so the result is feeling tired as well as other symptoms being pale skin, dizziness, shortness of breath and headaches.
So, what’s the game plan?
The good thing about iron deficiency is that supplements are easy to take and can recover levels. Additionally, a diet filled with iron rich foods can surely help! The average female aged 19-49 is recommended to have 18mg of iron daily.
There are two catagories: heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron comes from meat sources and is better absorbed in the body, whereas non-heme is from plant sources and is better regulated, causing less damage to the body. Iron absorption is also better when ingested with vitamin C – so have a glass of orange juice with your iron rich meal.
So I did some research and found this list full of top iron foods. Included are some of my favourites: spinach, asparagus, seafoods and nuts.
Overdosing on iron is rare but whilst on supplements pay extra attention to not go overboard with iron filled foods. I shall try to incorporate different ingredients in my meals and hopefully come up with some good recipes to bust out this tiredness!
*Please make sure you see a doctor first and have a blood test, before starting any supplements.*
Have you ever had anemia? How did you tackle it?