Many people consume supplemental food items that contain large amounts of the current wonder herb, vitamin, mineral, etc. to help ‘cure’ their own personal need(s). Supplements are usually taken without prior medical advice. This blog is not to be used as a way to determine supplemental needs, but to increase your knowledge of how to inquire about your needs with your health professional.
The best way to determine whether you need supplementation is to have blood work completed and have your doctor/nurse/dietitian go over the results to explain 'out of range' values. Many foods we consume today are enriched or fortified (meaning vitamins and minerals have been added or replaced back into the food) and provide a portion or all of the recommended daily allowances. If you are eating a balanced diet, one made of a variety of vegetables/fruits, protein, healthy fats, and small amounts of starches and sweets you are probably obtaining all needed vitamins and minerals. Each week I will post a short script about each vitamin & mineral:
Are you female and between the ages of 12 and 49*? Do you need to increase your iron intake? Ever wonder what foods contribute the most iron? Why is iron important?
Have you heard someone say "I'm anemic" or heard a health professional suggest to eat more foods high in iron? Well, first let’s do a brief description of what being iron deficient or anemic means.
Anemia - Iron deficiency in the body(from the dictionary). The lack of iron in your body causes symptoms like fatigue, pale pallor, headaches, difficulty breathing, insomnia, no appetite, weakened immune system, and no energy to list some symptoms(www.ironrichfood.org). Iron deficiency is determined by a blood test which the results for various iron markers and red blood cell counts are used to measure the severity. *A study published in the 1997 JAMA showed that iron deficiency or anemia was highest in females between the ages of 12 and 49. Iron is important to the body because it helps with oxygen transport within the body.
A simple way to increase your iron intake safely is by eating a variety of foods with high concentrations of iron. Here is a short list to start with but if you want to do more hunting go to-https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/foodapedia.aspx and type in foods you are curious about – the USDA nutrient data base should be most current. There are many more foods but this will get you started in the right direction:
Meats and fish provide highly absorbable iron, for example –
Beef, Pork, Lamb, three ounces 2.3 to 3.0 mg
Liver (beef, chicken), three ounces 8.0 to 25.0 mg*
Clams, Oysters ¾ cup 3.0 mg
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Here is a more in depth fact sheet: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/
NOTE: Iron is not a mineral to self-medicate. Please have blood work performed and review the results with a medical professional. If additional iron supplementation is needed, your health professional will recommend the dosage. Let your health professional know if you take a daily multi-vitamin.