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  • Writer's pictureTiffany Langabeer

Have you been told you may have Anemia?

“You are what you eat” is a very famous saying . . . although, you may have heard the more accurate version of it: “You are what you eat and absorb.” Absorption is important because it’s possible to eat a variety of highly nutrient-dense foods but not get the full benefit from these nutrients simply because they pass right through your digestive tract and are not absorbed.

In this blog post we’ll go over some of my pro-tips on how to select foods high in iron and make the most of them!

Why does anemia make me tired?

Iron is essential for transporting vital oxygen throughout your body every second of the day. This happens through a compound in your red blood cells called “hemoglobin.” Similar to Vitamin D, Iron supports your muscles, and along with Vitamin C also supports your connective tissue. We need iron for neurological development, hormone production, and physical growth.

When you do not have enough iron, this is when you are diagnosed with anemia. Typical lab values for anemia are less than 12.0 gm/dl for women and 13.5 gm/dl for a man. When you do not have enough iron, your blood is not able to carry the oxygen needed for respiration to support your breath, blood to support your muscles and connective tissues that keep you moving. No wonder you are so exhausted!

What if I am vegetarian with anemia?

Non-vegetarians have it a little easier when it comes to getting more iron. Although iron is the most common mineral deficiency, for those who eat meat and seafood, it is not difficult to get a restorative dose that is easily absorbed. Foods high in iron include seafood and organ meats. Excellent plant-based sources of iron include beans and lentils, liver, spinach, chocolate, and tofu. However, not all iron-rich foods are equal. Iron is found in two different forms: heme (animal-based foods) and non-heme (plant-based foods). As mentioned, heme iron is more bioavailable and easily absorbed than non-heme iron. This means that the iron in plants is more difficult to absorb, but there are some simple tips that you can use to absorb more.

Get more from the food you eat to beat anemia!

Iron absorption can be enhanced when consumed with Vitamin C-rich foods and away from tannin-containing drinks like tea and coffee. This means, enjoy your beans, lentils, spinach, or tofu with a Vitamin C-rich food in the same meal. For example, add some bell peppers, orange wedges, or berries to your spinach salad. And enjoy your tea or coffee—not with, but—between your iron-rich meals.

Healthy eating is a little bit more than consuming nutritious foods, it’s also about absorbing the nutrients from those foods so they can be used in your body. With a few simple tips, you can get more benefits when you enjoy the same nutritious foods you usually do.

Final Thoughts on anemia

Anemia can be a sign of a more serious health condition. Work with your health practitioner to decide the best course of treatment for you.

Do you have concerns about anemia, your diet, digestion, or your health goals? Want to ensure you’re maximizing absorption of all the essential nutrients? Need some support in planning and making meals to get the most nutrition for you and your family?

Book an appointment with me today to see how I can help you meet your goals.


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