Get enough protein
Including enough protein-rich food during the day serves many purposes.
It helps keep blood sugar steady to avoid energy spikes and crashes. It helps to maintain muscle so we can get through the day more easily. It’s often found in nutrient-dense foods, which helps us feel more vital overall.
A critical thing protein does is carry iron from the small intestine to the blood. In other
words, if we are deficient in protein, we are more likely to be iron deficient.
Take a moment to breathe
It has been said before, and we’ll say it again: you can be stressed or digesting, not both.
Your body is intelligent; it doesn’t bother producing digestive juices when your life is in danger. While today’s stressful situations are not often life-or-death, your body can’t tell the difference if you are holding your breath.
To help to switch digestion and absorption into ON mode, take a few deep belly breaths prior to and during meals in between bites and swallows. The extra digestive juices this allows will help you assimilate nutrients like iron more effectively.
Include the breaths at other times as well. Too tired to exercise? The revitalizing benefits of oxygen are always available through breath.
Spread your iron intake out over the day. Your body has a maximum capacity for absorbing iron at any time. That’s because iron is moved from the digestive system into the blood stream with the active help of transferrin. You must give the liver time to create more.
A low-dose iron supplement solves this issue. Taken a few times each day, it will get your iron levels up faster than one large dose taken once per day. Put the right meals into heavy rotation. Your cereal box may boast “high in iron” but that does not mean that iron is bioavailable.
Think of dishes that combine beta-carotene and vitamin C-rich fruits and veggies, like citrus, peppers, tomatoes,cauliflower and broccoli, with iron-rich meats and seafood (full of protein!)
or their vegan alternatives. Combining iron-rich plants with meat helps, too.
Some examples include beef and broccoli, Manhattan clam chowder, Thai tofu curry, leafy green salads with dark turkey meat and citrus dressing, lamb with Greek salad, Marrakesh vegetable curry (use kale not spinach), duck à l ’orange, tomato sauce
with ground beef or game meat, and mussels with peppers in white wine sauce. As
a side note, a little white wine can improve iron absorption, but beware. Too much alcohol is associated with increased anemia risk.
The ideal iron supplement will be available in a smaller dosage amount.
Some tablets nicely fit the bill. Liquids are great because they’re easy to take in divided doses and allow absorption over a greater surface area in the gut.
If buying a mineral liquid, be sure to pick a solution, not a suspension. Solutions are desirable; the iron in a suspension is just added in. A solution allows for faster breakdown and better utilization by the body.