August 26, 2012 by Katie
Hey everyone! I hope you’re all having a nice weekend! I’m trying to enjoy my last day of summer today, and it’s going to be a good one since I have a book club meet-up with some Chicago bloggers! We read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, so get ready for a book review this upcoming week!
Today, however, is about getting IRON! And no, I’m not talking about lifting weights (although that’s very important! Check out Annette’s post on why strength training is important for endurance athletes). I’m talking about Fe: atomic number 26, a metal in the first transition series (so wikipedia-ed that, as if I remember all this from being a Chem minor…).
Iron plays a very important role in the human body: Iron is a necessary trace element found in nearly all living organisms. Iron-containing enzymes and proteins, often containing heme prosthetic groups, participate in many biological oxidations and in transport. Examples of proteins found in higher organisms include hemoglobin, cytochrome (see high-valent iron), and catalase. (source).
In other words, it helps to transport oxygen through your blood. This is why people who are low in iron (ME!) tend to feel fatigued easily – we aren’t getting enough oxygen transported to our cells!
During my mid-week run, I came a realization: I am low in iron right now! Back in the spring I had several blood tests done which revealed that I was very low in iron and hemoglobin. I focused on eating iron-rich foods and took supplements for a little while (they upset my stomach) and my levels started to reach normal. I kept focusing on eating iron rich food (mostly in the form of eggs and other meats) but I realized that over the last month or so I really let that slide. During my 9 mile run (it was supposed to be 8… which I didn’t realize until I went to check it off my training schedule… oops), I kept having the symptoms that I had while training in the spring: fatigue, increased heart rate, and a constant overwhelming desire to stop and rest.
Now that I realize I must be low in iron again (don’t really want to go back in for blood tests to clarify this…) I’m going to re-focus on getting iron-rich food to get myself back on track!
Here is a list of High-Iron foods from WebMD:
To boost the amount of iron in your diet, try these foods:
- Red meat
- Egg yolks
- Dark, leafy greens (spinach, collards)
- Dried fruit (prunes, raisins)
- Iron-enriched cereals and grains (check the labels)
- Mollusks (oysters, clams, scallops)
- Turkey or chicken giblets
- Beans, lentils, chick peas and soybeans
And here’s a tip: If you eat iron-rich foods along with foods that provide plenty of vitamin C, your body can better absorb the iron.
Turkey or chicken giblets?!?! Sign me up! Haha totally kidding. The American Red Cross also has a great list of iron-rich foods! Personally, I plan to get my iron mostly from egg yolks and dark, leafy greens. I’ve already looked up some delicious looking recipes incorporating eggs!
**All images found on webpage where I linked to the recipe!**
Spinach Sweet Potato Egg Nests from PaleOMG
Spaghetti Squash Breakfast Bake from PaleOMG
Cheesy Quinoa Quiche by Hungry Hungry Hippie
Two Ingredient Pancakes by Carrots N Cake
And my favorite way: egg on top of a sweet potato!
Are you conscious of getting enough iron?
What are your favorite egg or leafy green recipes? Link up!
Disclaimer: I am not a dietitian, doctor, nurse or medical specialist! If you have any concerns about your health or want to change your diet, please consult your physician. I am not an expert! These are merely my own experiences and opinions.