I know, just reading the title of this blog post makes some of my lifestylers cringe and say ‘but why?!’. Lately I’ve been trying to enjoy the goodness of coffee as opposed to drinking it to get a wake-up call but here is another reason why I’ve been doing this
A few weeks ago my iron levels went very low, like severe headaches and almost faint kind of low which was a first for me cos you know, I try to have a good iron intake knowing I’m aneamic also.
So in my attempt to improve my iron intake I realised I have to make sure that the iron I take in is actually absorbed and caffeine is something that actually prevents your body from absorbing iron (crazy right?). So while I was enjoying my morning cuppa, the iron from my breakfast was not enjoying it at all.
And for this reason I decided to for a whole week not have any caffeine firstly with my breakfast and secondly with my meals. Now caffeine is not just in coffee, its in your normal ceylon teas and chocolates as well.
I would then drink one of my faves which is a lemon and ginger tea or a mango and peach flavored tea. And of course normal rooibos tea was also a hot favorite.
But here is a few things I did to improve my iron absorption (and not just the intake) daily
1. Skipped the caffeine with my meals
As explained before, caffeine reduces the chances of your iron being absorbed. And although coffee is our most common form of caffeine, normal teas, chocolates, fizzy drinks especially coke and energy drinks also contain a good amount of caffeine.
2. Add Vitaminc C to your meals
Contrary to caffeine, vitamin C will help absorb the iron. I had a orange witb my lunch a few times in the week; made a tomato and cucumber side for my suppers and adding fresh slices of lemon to your water also adds extra vitamins C.
3. Have at least one good iron source daily
The countries maize and most breakfast cereals are fortified with extra iron so you should be covered for breakfast. Snacking on a boiled egg is also a good way to add iron and of course having your protein like red meat or chicken livers for supper is also good.
Below is a infograph of more iron rich foods.
What about plant proteins?
Keep in mind, plant proteins such as lentils, beans and split peas do have iron but it’s not readily available to be absorbed like animal proteins, if you do like a meatless lifestyle like myself, we need to make sure vitamin C is added to increase the availability of iron to be absorbed.
Iron rich foods has become a must in my diet, to prevent my iron from going too low and keep up with the demands of my body.
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