Are you getting enough iron in your diet? If you’re feeling overly tired, weak, short of breath or suffer from a paler than pale complexion (and you haven't been burning the candles at both ends) - the answer could be no. If you want to take a step towards living your healthiest ever life (you go, girl!) read on to find out why iron is so important for your health and which foods you should be adding to your shopping basket.
Why do our bodies need iron?
We hope you’re paying attention, as we have a quick science lesson for you (don’t worry, there won’t be an exam at the end!). Our body uses the iron we intake to make haemoglobins in red blood cells. These red blood cells then carry oxygen through the body from our lungs to muscles and other important organs. So, we think you’d agree, it’s quite an important nutrient!
Pregnant women, ladies who have heavy periods and children are particularly susceptible to being low on iron. So, how can you improve your diet to ensure your iron reserves are topped up?
Tuck into these iron rich foods
Luckily for us, iron can be found in lots of everyday foods - so you don’t need to be scouring the aisles in your local health food store for anything too obscure! There are two types of iron which can be found in foods; haem iron and non-haem iron.
Haem irons: animal protein
- Red meats – such as lamb and liver (although if you are pregnant you should avoid eating liver)
Non-haem irons: plant-based foods
- Green leafy veggies such as kale and spinach
- Lentils and beans
- Grains such as whole wheat, brown rice and fortified breakfast cereals.
And finally, to increase your chances of iron being absorbed into your body, combine it with vitamin C rich sources such as drinking orange juice or taking a vitamin C supplement with your meal.
Here's to looking and feeling your best!