Having a family and keeping them entertained can be extremely tiring for parents, especially when you add a busy working life on top of that, too. The food we eat and the vitamins and minerals within it can greatly impact how you feel throughout the day, particularly when it comes to iron.
Are you getting enough iron to make the most of your time at work and with the family? Without it, you could be missing out on energy and other health benefits that can support your busy lifestyle.
Read on for some helpful information from Vitabiotics, concerning how much iron your body needs each day, what it does to help your body and where to get it from.
How does iron help us?
Iron is an extremely important nutrient as it helps our bodies in many different ways, on a daily basis. Not only does iron contribute to normal cognitive function, it also contributes to normal oxygen transport in the body. One benefit in particular that you’ll notice straight away, is the way it contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism.
How much iron should we be consuming each day?
According to the NHS, women should be getting 14.8mg of iron each day, compared to 8.7mg a day for men. There’s quite a dramatic difference in the levels of iron men and women need, because women can lose iron during their periods.
Without iron your body can suffer from anaemia, which causes you to feel tired, lethargic and generally down in the dumps. Tiredness, fatigue, breathlessness and a low mood are all symptoms of anaemia, so if you feel like you’re suffering from these symptoms, speak to your GP. They will be able to diagnose whether or not anaemia is the root cause.
Getting your daily iron fix
Of course, nobody wants to feel tired and weak, especially when it comes to raising a family. Making sure your diet contains enough iron is a simple and effective way to help keep you on your feet the whole day through. All it takes is a healthy balanced diet with plenty of variety, from different food groups. That way, you’ll benefit from all kinds of vitamins and nutrients working together to contribute towards a healthy lifestyle.
Iron can be found in both animal based food products (known as haem iron) and plant based food products (known as non-haem iron). If you’re vegetarian, your body might find it harder to consume iron, as non-haem iron is more difficult to absorb. To help, make sure you get enough vitamin C each day, which can help with non-haem absorption.
Our top five food picks for upping your iron
There are plenty of foods that contain iron, but these five foods are practically bursting at the seams with itt:
- Liver has the highest amount of iron that can be found in any food, but it should only be eaten every so often rather than most days, as liver contains around 200% of a woman’s recommended daily amount of iron. It’s worth noting that liver is not recommended during pregnancy, due to the high levels of vitamin A contained within it.
- Enjoy some lentils in a lunchtime soup or as part of a teatime casserole, to get a quarter of your recommended daily amount. Lentils are also a great and iron rich way to bulk out meat in your meals, meaning you won’t need to use as much.
- How about some quinoa instead? This super grain not only contains plenty of iron, but can be incorporated into breakfasts, lunches and dinners, too.
- Spinach has almost the same amount of iron in it as quinoa. It also works with all kinds of other foods, making it a great addition to a varied diet. Try adding it into pasta sauces or smoothies for an iron rich vitamin punch.
- Snacking on pumpkin seeds can give you a good amount of iron too, containing around 15mg of iron for every 100g of seeds. Try them sprinkled on porridge or soups for a crunchy iron rich addition to your meals.
Of course, these are just a few of the foods that contain iron and you can expect to find plenty more on the supermarket shelves. However, if you’re short on time and find it difficult to fit in a varied diet on a daily basis, there are always gentle iron supplements such as Feroglobin available as well. Either way, with enough iron you could begin feeling much brighter and livelier than you have been without it.
Disclaimer: This advice piece should be used as a guide and should not be taken as medical advice. If you have any concerns, speak to your GP who will be able to offer a proper diagnosis.