How to Increase Your Iron Intake
Iron is an essential mineral that is involved in over 200 biochemical reactions in your body. So it’s safe to say that iron1 is very important to the efficiency at which your body functions and how healthy it is. Iron helps form red blood cells, which are integral to the transport of oxygen from the lungs to the heart, muscles, organs, and tissues of the body. It also assists in the transport of carbon dioxide to the lungs to dispel it from the body.
When you don't have enough iron, your cells can't get the oxygen they need. Your energy drops, and you feel weak, spacy, and tired. If you have been experiencing symptoms like these, you may want to contact your doctor and get tested for iron deficiency2. Those who are most commonly at risk of iron-deficiency are pregnant women, menstruating women, vegetarians and vegans, adolescent children and the elderly, and those on specific medications.
(Please note that this is not a diagnosis. Please consult your doctor before beginning any supplements or making drastic dietary changes.)
Foods That Are High In Iron
A good way to provide your body with iron is through eating iron-rich foods. Popular iron-rich plants include kale, spinach, and swiss chard. All of these plants are easily recognizable dark greens. Any vegetarian will tell you that adding a handful of spinach or kale to your next salad will up the iron intake. Poultry, red meat, and seafood also offer iron in a form that's easy for the body to absorb. Shrimp with pasta in a white wine sauce or a chicken cutlet can be a fun way to spice up dinner while still getting your daily dose of iron.
In addition to these well-known foods, there are other sources of iron that many people don’t consider. Honey, for instance, is a potent source of iron, and can be drizzled over iron-rich grains such as oatmeal or bran cereal for a touch of sweetness and extra iron. Another favorite snack with a powerful iron punch is pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle them on yogurt or just eat them right out of the bag.
If you are iron-deficient, you may also want to take an iron supplement. You should know that not all iron supplements are created equal. Some forms of iron are harder for the body to absorb and metabolize efficiently. This can make the supplement less effective, and tougher on the digestive system. One of the best supplemental forms of iron is Ferrous Bisglycinate,3 a chelated form of iron that is able to travel through the digestive system without breaking down. This means it is less likely to cause gastrointestinal distress, and can be absorbed into the cells more efficently.
Vitamin C has also been shown to help with the absorption of iron into the body. The vitamin C latches on to non-haem iron and increases the solubility of the iron. This in turn makes it easier for the body to absorb the iron through the intestinal mucus membrane. When the iron is easier to absorb, the body can take it in much faster, thereby improving the rate at which iron levels are restored to normal, and bringing the body back to health much quicker.
Our NATURELO Iron supplement is made with Ferrous Bisglycinate Chelate for the best bioavailability and includes Vitamin C to help with absorption. We also included whole foods such as beets, spinach, pumpkin, and chard, which are known as typical sources of naturally occuring iron, proviidng whole food nutrition complete with its nutritent cofactors.
1. Review on iron and its importance for human health, 2014 Feb; 19(2): 164–174.