I’m feeling all motivation this morning, so that’s coming. First though, I’ve had a few run-ins, in just a few days, with people who are having either iron overload problems, or iron deficiency. Iron absorption is a pretty big issue, and I just want to touch briefly on a few pointers and guidelines about it.
Iron plays a large part in the amount of oxygen that gets delivered to our muscles, brain, and tissues, but it’s also involved in metabolism, immune function, DNA synthesis, growth, and healing, among other things. It’s important.
Deficiency and Over-Sufficiency both come with pretty serious consequences. Children and menstruating females are most likely to be Deficient, and men and menopausal women are more likely to have too much iron. It’s important to keep an eye on your levels via regular blood tests.
Moms, kids tend to be iron deficient, as a matter of fact, it’s a fairly common problem with the SAD (standard american diet) that most kids are on. It will affect their growth, energy and health, so remedying that is important.
Here’s a few tips: iron comes in two forms, “heme iron”, which is from animal sources, and “non heme iron”, which is from plant sources, and egg whites. (that’s simplistic, but accurate) Heme iron is MUCH more absorbable and usable by the body than non heme. Much more. For instance, spinach is loaded with iron, but less than 2% of it’s iron is absorbed (the Popeye thing was misleading- he lifted heavy for those forearms!); soybeans have more iron than red meat, but less than 7% of their iron is absorbed.
If you are iron DEFICIENT, you’re going to need to add some meat protein, as that iron is highly absorbable, and there are other “co-factors” in meat that aid absorption. Vitamin C also SERIOUSLY increases iron absorption – by 4X!!
Phytates in grains and nuts, the mineral CALCIUM, and Tannins in teas and coffee INHIBIT iron absorption.
If you’re iron status is normal, just eat well rounded meals and the body takes care of itself.
If you have too much iron, then add the CALCIUM, the phytates from your nuts (you know how I feel about grains), and your coffee or tea to your meals containing iron. They will all help prevent absorption.
Enough about Iron – on to Food!
Here’s my quote for the day: “Make your health and your energy your priority, and then if you need to lose weight you will.”
Honestly, it’s not the other way around despite decades of hearing it put that way: Lose weight and get healthy. That doesn’t happen because when people try to lose weight, they go on DIETS. Diets make people GAIN WEIGHT and become LESS HEALTHY. Don’t believe me? Statistics say that at least 95% of EVERYONE who goes on ANY kind of diet and loses weight will GAIN IT ALL BACK PLUS SOME. Some stats say that the real number is 99%.
Diets imply a beginning and an end. An effort that you’re going to make for a period of time to not eat too many calories, to consume certain foods, to shun other foods, and usually to exercise to “burn calories”.
The average dieter displays an enormous amount of strength to resist their normal routines and habits for a few days, or a few weeks, sometimes even a couple months, and then, whether they lost weight or didn’t (which does happen), they get tired of the mental effort required to constantly fight their urges. They give in/fall off the wagon, gain weight, mess up hormones, and re-ignite negative patterns that keep them on the Diet Ferris Wheel. (let’s not forget the self-hate that comes with the Diet Ferris Wheel.)
Don’t let this happen to you! If you need to lose weight, put your time and focus on eating Real Whole Foods: meats, healthy fats, TONS of vegetables, some fruit, some nuts, some dairy (if you tolerate them). Try to skip the snacks, avoid flour and sugar products (blood sugar blues and triglyceride production), let hours go between meals so that Glucagon(a fat burning hormone) can be released. Put your mental energy on RWFs being a normal LIFESTYLE for you, not a temporary effort that may or may not result in weight loss that won’t last.
Take steps, do ACTIONS, that will have positive results: shop, cook, plan your day in writing, get to bed at a decent hour (the evidence linking lack of sleep and belly fat is HUGE), exercise or at least move – every day, drink tons of water; in other words, work on your daily habits. These steps will only sound like an effort until they’re just normal. Does that make sense?
Work on deleting the Diet Mindset. Work on habits that make your liver, your hormones, your immune system, your whole body,… run right. Our body wasn’t made to run on crappy carbs, tons of sugar, and chemicals. If you’re sick, tired, and overweight, there is a simple solution that’s 100% full proof and long term. Eat Real Whole Foods.