In my experience, low iron is a common problem for women. Because iron is packed into our hemoglobin, when we lose blood we lose iron. This makes menstruating women more vulnerable to anemia, even if its subtle. But our periods are not the only causes of iron loss, so is poor digestion. If our digestive strength is impaired, this can prevent proper absorption of iron-rich foods. But this is a beauty blog, so why am I talking about iron? Well, iron deficiency like most deficiencies affect our how our bodies look and feel.
Signs of Low Iron
Dull skin? This may because of low iron. When you look at the structure of the hemoglobin molecule, iron is in its center – essentially holding it together. So when we lack iron, we lack hemoglobin (the molecule in red blood cells). This is why one sign of anemia is a pale complexion due to the decrease in red blood particles. Also, hemoglobin transports oxygen and a shortage of it also leads to less oxygen distribution. Oxygen is important for feeding our tissues including our skin.
Beyond the skin, its also important to look to your body for signs of low iron. Brittle or peeling nails is another symptom as your extremities are also not being fed and nourished properly through the bloodstream. Hair loss can also be linked to anemia along with low oxygen leads to sore muscles and overall fatigue. Its near impossible to truly feel your best if you are uncomfortable and depleted of vitality.
Easy Ways to Get More Fe (Iron)!
One easy way to increase your iron is to eat more iron-rich foods. Meat is a common go-to as animal protein tends to be your highest source of iron. But for those who want to get more iron in through plant-based foods, blackstrap molasses, pumpkin seeds and spinach are excellent sources. Just remember with the spinach, you need to pair it with some vitamin C to make the iron readily available. Squeeze a lemon or orange over your spinach salad to give yourself an injection of Fe power!
However, if you are not absorbing your iron due to poor digestion, you may need to supplement. Ask your naturopathic doctor for the options that will work for your body best. I find the liquid form the more easily absorbable, myself. Saying this, I try not to over-supplement so I look for other ways to get in iron. One tip given to me by Dr. Emily Lipinski is to cook with iron cookware. I know many foodies who swear by cast iron kitchen stuffs for efficacy but this is also nutritious! This will help you get into a little iron on a daily basis as it subtly seeps into our food (note: if iron is getting into our food through our cookware, its important to look into what materials your other pots and pans are made of!).
With a few small changes, you’ll be beating iron-deficiency and enjoying glowing skin, strong nails, voluminous hair and effortlessly dancing a little happy dance. Now that’s beautiful.