Forget Protein, Are You Getting Your Iron?

Many people get very concerned about getting enough protein and nutrients in their diets especially if they are vegan. Are you aware that a deficiency of iron can cause health issues such as anemia and it is a global issue.

First off I would like to say that I am not a Health Care Professional. As a non-practicing Health Coach, I am recommending lab work to find out what your blood levels are. Is your iron low? Are you prediabetic? Do you have high blood pressure etc?

Once you know what’s going on, you can partner with your health care professional to get things good again. But if you don’t know what’s going on, then it’s hard to get things better. So if you are feeling tired or fatigued, breathless then go get yourself checked out. Common symptoms of anemia include dizziness, fatigue, lightheadedness, heart palpitations, brittle nails, headache, shortness of breath and weakness.

Let’s talk about how much iron your body actually needs.

  • Infants and toddlers need more iron than adults because they are growing: 10 milligrams daily
  • age 4-8 10 milligrams daily
  • aged 9-13 8 mg daily
  • Once menstruation begins women require 18 milligrams per day because they are losing blood every month.
  • Adult males and women over 50 is 8 milligrams per day.

What Food is Iron Rich?

This is where it can get interesting because you have to get the iron into your body in the required amounts.

There is iron from animal and plant sources. Iron from animal sources is known as heme iron and is found in meat and fish. Iron from plants is known as nonheme iron and is found in: beans (kidney, lima, navy,) Tofu, Lentils, Molasses, Spinach, whole Wheat Bread, Peanut Butter, Brown Rice raisins and apricots. When you eat the nonheme iron foods combine with vitamin C to increase absorption. There are also iron fortified cereals.

Also be aware that calcium can make it more difficult for your body to absorb calcium. So you don’t want to eat your iron rich meal with calcium as that will decrease iron absorption. If you take supplements don’t take calcium with iron.

What About Drinking Coffee and Tea With Meals

Photo by Kevin Menajang on

Coffee and tea don’t help with the absorption of iron. So wait 20 minutes after you eat to have coffee or tea. I know this is a huge bummer for people that enjoy coffee or tea with meals. As you can see it can get a little complicated. But if you are anemic, you want to make sure you aren’t doing anything to make things worse.

Talk to your Doctor

This is a global issue about not having an iron rich diet. So young women please be aware to ensure you are getting adequate nutrition because you need the most iron. I wish we came with an instruction manual but we have to figure out things as best we can. And remember we are all different. It’s called bio-individuality. What works for me might not work for you. We’re just these complicated little beings now aren’t we.

Valerie is a health and wellness coach living in Northern California. She encourages everyone to follow their passion as she shares her passion with the world.

Leave a Reply