Friday, 2 January 2015

On my mind- IRON

Morning Sunshines! Or whatever time of day it is wherever you are right now! ;)

Something's been on my mind lately.


No, not the things that rusts if you leave it outside (well- yes that, but not in those kind of quantities) or the appliance that smooths out the creases in your clothes.

I'm talking about the important mineral needed in our diet so that we can function well- vital for extremely important bodily functions like transporting oxygen in the blood!

Now, by default I fall into the list of having a high-risk for iron deficiency just because of my age and gender. I am a teenage girl. On top of that I also tick the box on that list by being a vegetarian. And just because I thought I needed to tick one more box to increase my risk- let's throw in a long distance runner!
So it's probably fair to say I've been starting to really watch my diet and try to make sure I'm getting as much iron as possible through my food choices. This is extremely difficult though, because even though you only need a small amount of iron each day (1-1.5mg) you need to eat HEAPS more than this seeing as our bodies only absorb a fraction of the iron from the foods we eat!

As a girl aged between 14-18 years I'm expected to consume 15mg of iron each day. That's without taking into consideration my diet or exercise. Oy vey.

Apparently a healthy body absorbs 18% of the available iron in a typical Western diet (includes animal foods) on the other hand- about 10 percent form a vegetarian diet.

Seriously- maybe I shouldn't have looked into this so deeply. I definitely worried myself a bit.

Then I took a step back and looked at the big picture.

The signs for an iron deficiency include fatigue, brittle nails, swelling or soreness of the tongue, cracks in the side of the mouth or even unusual cravings for non-food items like ice, dirt, paint or starch.
Well! I am definitely not fatigued- running, walking, cooking, dancing, handstanding, bike riding- shows pretty much a typical day for me! My nails are strong and smooth (I also don't have any of those white dots... whatever they mean;) my tongue feels pretty fine and dandy in it's warm, wet home of my mouth, my mouth is crack free (unless I crack a smile ;) and I don't think I've had a craving for dirt since eating it as a todler and working out dirt does not taste good!

So maybe I'm not deficient?
I know I spend a lot of time focusing on my diet, thinking about what I'm going to make, making it and then savouring every bite- but I guess the above shows it's paying off. I have such a high risk to develop an iron deficiency but I've managed to overcome that.

This doesn't mean I can stop working so hard though. It does take a bit of extra thought but I'm cooking delicious foods that I love to eat, so it doesn't really bother me. here's a look at some of the iron-rich foods I've been enjoying lately:
 Some very reliable websites told me that iron is better absorb when paired with vitamin C, so I blitzed my tropical mango green smoothie with some fresh juice of half an orange and drank those lovely iron rich dark leafy greens up!
 I've been enjoying my salads with large handfuls of dark leafy greens also, just to add in an extra punch. Lentils have been scattered in as well:
 Egg salad with raw chopped veg... and some crushed blue maize organic tortilla chips:
Roast veggies with quinoa, lentils, mixed four beans and spinach:

 Pesto roast veggies with roasted tomatoes, peas and corn:
 Pine nuts are full of iron!

So whilst I don't feel like I'm low on iron and seem to be traveling pretty well, I'll keep shoving mass quantities of it down my throat in the hope that this will continue! Roasted broccoli for lunch anyone?

What about you?
Are you/ have you ever been low on iron/ anemic?
How do you prefer to get your iron?
Are dark leafy greens a must for you as well?

That's it from me today guys! I'd love to hear your thoughts on this and all the different opinions/ experiences out there. Have a great rest of your day! Bye! :D


  1. Excellent! It’s good to know you’re conscious of your health and that you are mindful of every nutrient intake. Iron deficiency could have dangerous consequences when neglected. It’s a great thing you are being proactive in preventing it before it could pose a risk to your health. Thanks for sharing that! All the best to you!

    Cody White @ Dr. Chris Fraser's Clinic

  2. Cody,
    Thanks so much for your comment! It made me feel really great reading that! Thanks for stopping by! :)
    Steph 2 chef x


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