Today’s Solutions: March 01, 2024

In a recent podcast featured on mindbodygreen, longevity expert Gil Blander, Ph.D. was speaking about nutrient deficiencies when he was asked: Are there any underrated nutrients we’re still missing? 

To this question, Blander responded: “I was surprised to see how often premenopausal women, especially women who are exercising, have a significant issue with iron, and they are not aware of that.”

Why women are predominantly low in iron? According to a major medical review, iron deficiency affects around 20 to 25 percent of the world’s population, primarily women. A main cause of this is due to the heavy bleeding that occurs during menstruation and pregnancy, although inadequate nutrition and other medical conditions can also play a role.

In addition, intense exercise can cause you to lose iron through sweat, a concept known as exercise-induced hemolysis, which is when those blood cells become ruptured during high impact movements such as hitting your feet against the pavement.

Why is iron important? Iron is responsible for making two oxygen-carrying proteins, called hemoglobin and myoglobin. Without it, you are primed to feel fatigued, dizzy, and exhausted.

What can you do to boost iron levels? To start with, Blander suggests you get your iron levels tested to determine whether or not you’re missing this key nutrient. Should you find yourself low in iron, there are plenty of animal and plant-based food sources that you can get iron from, ranging from tuna and chicken to asparagus and soybeans.

Just so you know, iron exists in two main forms, heme and non-heme, with the former being found primarily in animal-based sources and the latter found in plant-based sources. To help you boost your levels of this vital nutrient, check out this full list of 64 iron-rich foods, complete with the amount of iron found in each source.

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