Sometimes feelings of fatigue can be caused by low iron stores (anemia), especially for women around that time of the month, during pregnancy, or even after donating blood. Iron is essential for carrying energy-boosting oxygen throughout your blood. Without iron, you can’t get oxygen to your muscles for energy and you feel tired.
When Tammy was pregnant with her twins, she was surprised to learn that she was anemic; she didn’t feel particularly tired. However, growing fetuses require a lot of blood for growth and development as the mom produces more blood (and even extra blood for two fetuses!) It’s hard to keep up with the demand for more iron.
Aside from taking an iron supplement, Tammy tried to get as much iron from her diet as she could. Iron is found in many foods, but is most available to the body when it is in the heme form, which is only found in meats. Plants also contain iron, but in the non-heme form.
A fabulous tip to help you get the most non-heme iron for your buck: Eat foods that contain vitamin C with non-heme iron sources. They help you absorb the iron better.
So next time you make a bean salad (good source of iron!), or grill some vegetables like broccoli or Brussel sprouts (also have non-heme iron!), be sure to add some lemon or lime for flavor (and for vitamin C) to increase iron absorption.
Remember animal proteins like chicken and fish are great sources of iron, so if you make a lemon citrus fish or a mango salsa to top your fish, or if you make a chicken in marinara sauce, you easily combine iron-rich protein sources with vitamin C, which will also help to increase iron absorption.
Do you make anything that combines a source of iron with a source of vitamin C?