The 411 on Iron Deficiency

I was horrified to find out that iron deficiency is the most common deficiency and it affects a third of the U.S. population.  So this week I am giving you some foods that you can eat to make sure you have enough iron flowing in your bloodstream.  The main symptom is feeling tired and weak; you’ve heard of anemia, right? Other lack of iron symptoms include a difficulty time maintaining body temperature and a lack of concentration.  Obviously you have to go to a doctor to get properly diagnosed and a blood test to confirm any suspicions; my main goal is not to be a part of your self-diagnosis process but rather offer preventative measures and overall good food selection to maintain iron amounts in your body.  Iron is found in fruits, vegetables, eggs, nuts, low fat milk products, fish, dry beans, lean meats, and fish to name a few.  A trick I learned with the babies’ is that by eating sources of vitamin C with iron that is not easily absorbed such as food like whole grains, fortified cereal, and beans can quadruple the absorption of iron in your body.  So for example if you have a piece of cantaloupe with your bran flakes in the morning or a red bell pepper with your broccoli in a stir fry for dinner you’ve done your body a service. Here is a list of some iron-rich foods and vitamin C food you can combine to get maximum iron absorption:

Some Iron-Rich foods                                                                               Some Vitamin-C Food to combine with iron-rich foods

Broccoli                                                                                                         Red & Green Bell Peppers

Asparagus                                                                                                    Oranges/Grapefruits

Lean beef, pork, lamb                                                                                   Mangos/Cantaloupe/Honeydew/Kiwi

Beans: lentils, lima, black, pinto                                                                   Cauliflower/Cabbage/Brussel Sprouts

Cereals, rice, pasta                                                                                       Raspberries/Strawberries/Papayas

Seafood: clams, salmon, shrimp, tuna                                                          Tomato Soup

Chicken                                                                                                         Total Cereal

On a side note, if you do not want to lose all the iron that you’ve worked so hard putting in your body, then avoid tannins like alcohol and coffee.  Easier said then done, I know, but it’s good to be mindful of these obstructions.  Also cooking can take the nutrients out of vegetables so eat them raw if you can.

So this week try to be more iron and vitamin C conscious when selecting food.  The babies and I have been eating cabbage and kidney beans.  Here’s an iron-rich recipe for a chicken broccoli, & spinach casserole that I am looking forward to try.  Enjoy!

BROCCOLI, SPINACH AND CHICKEN
CASSEROLE

10-12 chicken tenderloins, fully cooked, diced
1-16 oz frozen pkg broccoli, cooked
1-16 oz frozen pkg spinach, thawed
1 can broccoli cheese soup
2 cups cheddar cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper to taste

Simmer chicken tenderloins until fully cooked. Than add the broccoli and the spinach to the pot and simmer for 10 more minutes. Drain.
Dice chicken. Add everything back to pot and add remaining ingredients. Stir.

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