Select Source Spotlight - Iron - Do You Have a Deficiency?

Feeling Sluggish? You may have an Iron Deficiency

Go from couch potato to energizer bunny with these easy tips!

The holidays are over – phew! Problem is, now you’re feeling the effects of the hectic season – or so you thought. Lack of energy, feeling run down and sluggish are all symptoms of iron deficiency. Most people have no idea that an iron deficiency could be the reason they’re barely able to get off the couch. Good news is you don’t have to succumb to be a couch potato. Finding the right iron supplements for anemia and eating iron-rich foods can reverse your iron deficiency stat. 

Did you know that iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the US? And even more so for women! That means your risk of having it or becoming deficient at some point in your life is high. While using an iron supplement for anemia is useful for iron deficiency prevention, pairing it with a diet full of iron rich foods will surely do the trick. And since so many people are making resolutions to improve their health and fitness this New Year, getting your iron levels in check could be the energy boost you need to kick your goals into high gear. 

What is iron? 

Iron is a mineral that's main role is to transport oxygen throughout the body so cells can produce energy. It does this within the hemoglobin of red blood cells. Iron also helps remove carbon dioxide from the body. 

Since iron is found in red blood cells, some sources of dietary iron come from animal sources such as meat, fish and poultry – this is known as heme-iron. On the other hand, plant-based (non-heme) vegetarian foods with iron include vegetables with iron such as spinach and beans, as well as enriched and fortified grains, rice, cereals, and breads. Eating any form of iron is absorbed better if paired with a source of vitamin C like strawberries, citrus, bell peppers, and kiwi. 

Why is iron important? 

When iron levels are low, meaning there’s not enough oxygen within the hemoglobin to efficiently produce energy, you end up with iron deficiency anemia. Symptoms of low iron include fatigue, dizziness, low energy, difficulty maintaining body temperature, headache, pale skin and fingernails, and glossitis (inflamed tongue). Babies need iron for brain development. 

Our bodies are good at adapting to low iron levels, however, it’s still important to aim for the current recommended daily allowance (RDA) for iron: adult males 19+ years old 8mg per day; adult females ages 19-50 need 18mg per day, and females 51 years and older need 8mg per day. 

How to know if you have an iron deficiency 

The best way to know if you’re iron deficient is to get a blood test ordered by your doctor. If you are feeling weak or sluggish, or are on a meat-free or vegan diet, it may be a good idea to schedule a check-up for good measure. Some other easily ignored symptoms of iron deficiency include feeling winded or tired after simple activities (even when you’re physically fit), shortness of breath, cold hands and feet, brittle nails, hair loss, the list goes on. 

What are the best vegan foods high in iron? 

It’s easy to find iron in animal-based foods, but if you follow a plant-based or vegan diet, you’ll want to look for vegan foods high in iron and vegetables with iron and add those to your diet. Here are some great options of vegetables with iron: green leafy veggies including broccoli, spinach, kale, and collards. Vegan iron sources, besides vegetables with iron, include: lentils, beans, chickpeas, squash, nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds, nut butters, grains like rice, fortified cereals and breads, and even dried fruit. 

There’s always the option to go with the best iron supplements for prevention and to reverse a deficiency. Be sure to eat an abundance of vitamin C rich foods throughout the day and take vitamin C when supplementing with iron to help your body absorb iron better. 

Feeling completely lost with so many options on grocery store shelves? Try PlantFusion’s Vegan Complete Iron supplement. 

Supplementing with PlantFusion’s Vegan Complete Iron supplement means you’ll go from couch potato to energizer bunny in just a few days! Grab yours now!