3 ways to pump up your iron
What do we know about iron?
Good for building ships and bridges, heavy as hell, prone to rust.
Well yes, but what else?
It’s the most abundant element on Earth, by weight. From the molten core of our planet, to all creatures great and small, iron is everywhere.
For us humans, iron is as vital as oxygen. In fact it’s oxygen, and specifically how iron reacts with it, that makes the rusty red metal the key ingredient in our blood, transporting O2 to every cell in our body, from muscle tissue to brain synapses. Iron deficiency or anemia, is the most common nutrient deficiency on the planet and can lead to a whole range of health problems.
Are you keeping an eye on your iron levels?
Posted by Balance on Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Paperclip or Popeye?
Surprisingly the amount of iron we actually need in our bodies at any one time is pretty small; roughly 3.5gms for women, 4gms for men. That’s only enough to make one paperclip. The problem is, it’s quite hard to get into our body, particularly if you are not a meat-eater, and we use it up pretty quickly. So acting like Popeye and just bingeing on spinach every once in a while when you need a strength boost is probably not a good way to live.
Teenagers, pregnant women, vegetarians and people who do endurance exercise like distance running are particularly at risk of anemia and should probably not just rely on eating your greens.
So here is our ABC of top tips for keeping topped up…
A) Pass the parsley
Parsley is so underrated. It is a culinary and medicinal wonder that we really take for granted. Not only does it make just about any dish look and taste fresher, but Parsley is the richest non-meat source of dietary iron there is. And unlike spinach, kale and other more headline grabbing sources of iron, it doesn’t lose any of its iron when cooked (spinach loses up to 70%!). So learn how to make a kick-ass Tabbouleh, grow a pot of parsley on your window sill, and next time you’re about to flick the parsley garnish off your fish dish, pop it in your mouth and whisper, ‘Sorry parsley, I love you really’.
b) Pop a pill
Even if we mainlined spinach and parsley at every meal, there are times that many of us would still not be getting enough iron into our bloodstream. So the simplest way to pump up our iron intake is with a supplement. There are plenty on the market to chose from, but Healthspan has a seriously impressive range, from Elite Iron Complex designed for high performance athletes, to Multivitality for Vegans and general purpose, stomach-friendly Iron Care.
c) Aid your absorption
There are various things that can help the body to absorb iron more efficiently, the easiest of which to come by is ascorbic acid, aka Vitamin C. So when a recipe encourages you to grate orange peel (which has 3 x more vit c than the flesh) onto your kale when steaming it, there is a healthy reason, not just a tasty one. And those ancient Arabic tribes who invented Tabbouleh – which is 90% parsley (iron) and lemon juice (vit C), they knew what they were doing.