Did you know that without sufficient iron, your body will begin to deteriorate? This is because it can no longer transport oxygen throughout your body, nor can it distribute nutrients.
So if you’re on a journey to becoming healthier, you aren’t absorbing all the vitamins and minerals from your fruits, veggies, smoothies and supplements.
If you’re anemic, you need to fix your iron levels, so that you can truly witness enhanced well-being. Let’s first learn more about how iron works in the body and then we’ll go into the foods and herbs that you can consume to help raise the levels.
Iron is needed for oxygen and nutrient distribution
Iron is a mineral that your red blood cells need to operate properly. When you have sufficient iron, your red blood cells deliver oxygen to all the tissues in your body, and stores oxygen inside of your muscles, which is needed and used when you exercise.
The more iron you have, the more red blood cells can be produced by your bone marrow. This means more will be stored in your liver for oxygen distribution to take place. This also gives your body plenty of distributors to transport all of the vitamins and minerals that you consume.
Other roles iron plays in the body includes converting blood sugar into energy (very important for athletes and fitness enthusiasts) and producing enzymes, which are needed for creating amino acids, new cells, neurotransmitters and hormones (very important when you’re trying to overcome an illness).
Overcoming sickness is more difficult when iron levels are low, since your immune system also relies on iron to properly function.
Since iron is needed for proper mental and physical growth, it’s important that you have sufficient amounts during pregnancy and as a child.
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How most people become iron deficient
Iron deficiency is the first stage of insufficient iron levels. When this isn’t corrected soon enough, it can lead to anemia. There are different ways that you can lose red blood cells and various conditions that can prevent formation of new red blood cells to replace them (an operation performed by your bone marrow).
Some of the ways that you can lose red blood cells include:
- Sweating (especially for training athletes)
- Defacation (bowel movements)
- Exfoliation (Dead skin cells)
- Menstruation (especially those who have heavy cycles)
- Bleeding from wounds
- Bleeding from pregnancy/delivery
Signs you have iron deficiency or anemia
When your iron levels drop very low, you’ll notice a couple of warning signs. At first, they’ll be subtle, but as the problem worsens, so shall the symptoms. Here are some of the signs associated with iron deficiency and anemia:
- Decrease immunity
- Reduced ability for athletes
- Pale skin
- Feeling cold in warm temperatures
Foods and herbs you can consume to raise your iron levels
I’m not a big fan of synthetic vitamins and minerals, so it only makes sense for me to have a natural remedy instead. I have found a variety of herbs and foods that I can eat to maintain healthy iron levels.
Here are some of the foods you can eat for enhanced iron:
Rich in iron and commonly consumed for treating anemia. It also has fiber, potassium and other vitamins that help promote healthy blood flow. I love to drink pomegranate juice, which offers concentrated doses of iron.
Helps with absorbing iron, which you’ll need help with as an anemic. Add these to your salads, tacos and other favorite recipes.
Scotch kale, asparagus and dandelion greens
Apricots, peaches, prunes, pears, figs, currants and raisins
Foods that can prevent iron absorption
Just as there are foods that can help iron levels, there are those that can disrupt it. The foods listed below have been found to stop the body from absorbing iron from foods, so definitely avoid these while you’re trying to increase your iron:
- Spinach (has oxalates, which prevent iron absorption)
Herbs you can use for an iron boost
There are a number of herbs that you can consume that can boost your iron levels, but these are my top three:
Yellow dock root:
I heard of a woman who took this straight up for a few weeks and was able to go from anemic to regular iron levels. Do be careful when using it because in higher doses it can cause diarrhea and nausea (it’s also a cleanser). Best taken in pill form because it is bitter.
This is great combined with yellow dock. Like yellow dock, it is also a cleanser and a tonic for your digestive system and liver. It offers a gentler detox. Best taken in pill form, but can be drank as a tea if you can stand the bitterness.
An herb that’s great for the blood and helps with skin conditions. Since it this consists of the aerial parts of the plant, it can be made into a tea and drank that way. It contains vitamin C, which helps with iron absorption.
As for the dosages of these herbs, you want to mix all three powders and put them into pills. Three daily should be sufficient enough. Once you have reached healthy iron levels, you can stop using them.
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