Getting Enough Iron in Your Diet
Iron is a natural mineral present in many foods. Iron is also added to many food products, and is also included in multi-vitamins and as a dietary supplement. According to the National Institute of Health
Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, an erythrocyte protein that transfers oxygen from the lungs to the tissues 
. As a component of myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles, iron supports metabolism. Iron is also necessary for growth, development, normal cellular functioning, and synthesis of some hormones and connective tissue. National Institute for Health
Anemia in the U.S. is uncommon but not unheard of, and in seniors “unexplained anemia” is not uncommon in adults over 65 years of age. People more susceptible to anemia include children and infants, pregnant women, individuals with liver or blood disorders, frequent blood donors, people with intestinal or colon disease and those with cancer.
It is uncommon for adults to suffer from too much iron but taking more than 20 mg/kg iron from supplements or medicines can cause stomach upset, constipation, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, or faintness. Iron is best taken with a meal and not on an empty stomach.
Symptoms of Anemia
The signs and symptoms of anemia are subtle and can be easily confused with other health problems both minor and serious. A simple blood test can identify if you are anemic. Be sure to consult with your doctor before adding supplements into your diet as they may need to be taken with a meal or on an empty stomach. Some supplements conflict with medications and other supplements, so be sure to check with your doctor or naturopath.
Symptoms of anemia may include:
- Pale or yellowish skin
- Irregular heartbeats
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Chest pain
- Cold hands and feet
As you can see, symptoms are not enough to determine if you are anemic, so ask your doctor about a blood test. In the meantime, you can add some of the delicious foods below that will naturally increase your levels of iron.
I’ve prepared a list of high iron foods that are suitable for everyone including those on low sugar, low glycemic and diabetic diets. With the exception of the dried apricots which are higher in sugar, but also high in iron, most are not going to dramatically raise your blood sugar when recommended portions are followed.
Food high in Iron (8-10 mg a serving)
- Dried Apricots
- Apple Sauce
- Beans (white)
- Beet greens (cooked)
- Beets (cooked)
- Kimchi (cabbage based)
- Chard or Spinach (cooked)
- Dark Chocolate
- Chickpeas (aka Garbanzo beans)
Are you taking advantage of your FREE SENIOR GYM MEMBERSHIP?
(Please check with your physician before starting a fitness program.)
Most everyone 65 and over with a Part-2 Medicare Supplemental plan, is eligible for a free gym membership through Silver Sneakers, or your health insurance plan. Check your plan to see if you are eligible. Seniors can check with your health plan or Medicare Supplemental Insurance plan to see if gym memberships or fitness programs are part of the coverage offered. Joining a gym with water sports and classes could do wonders for your movement and joints.
And if you are using a fitness tracker to measure your steps, keeping up with your walking in the wet or snowy months can help to keep your blood sugar and A1C down, if that’s relevant. Doctors and researchers have determined that exercise and movement have a direct beneficial impact on our health from reducing heart disease to helping to naturally lower blood sugar in diabetes.
Where can you find free or low-cost gym memberships
Even if your insurance doesn’t offer free gym memberships, many gyms offer free or discounted classes and memberships if you are over 65, although some gyms may set a different age of eligibility. Most YMCA’s and YWCA’s also offer free or discounted senior stretching, swimming and workout classes. Check with the YMCA in your area. Check with your local parks department for senior yoga, tai chi, and art classes. You can also check with your county or city senior services to see what they can offer you.
How much stiffness, and aches and pains we suffer, may be benefited by adding more physical exercise into your daily routine.
Ok, I’m going to say some words that might want to make you hit the back button, BUT JUST DON’T. The other day as I was pushing my mini-cart down the frozen food isle of my local supermarket, wishing there was a sugar free ice cream in some exotic flavor, an organic, non gmo, coconut based, dairy and gluten free frozen whipped topping caught my eye. Before I go further let it be known that I would never knowingly buy or eat the typical frozen whipped toppings because they seem to have a lot of unnatural ingredients in them, in fact I’m not sure there are ANY natural ingredients in them.
And then came CocoWhip! from SO DELICIOUS, the same folks who revolutionized soy milk based dairy free ice-cream. HOLY COW IS IT GOOD!
It tastes sweeter than expected and being fortunate to live in berry land or as we call it The Great Northwest, blackberries are happening right now and the combination of the two, the berries and the topping was definitely greater than the sum of their parts. A serving is 2 tablespoons and with a half cup of berries that was fine. I had used more the first time and it was too much topping (not really, this stuff is delicious!) but you know, all things in moderation.
Also, this post is in no way sponsored, and I’m not getting any kind of a kickback. I just really really like this product and am so happy I have a new guilt-free snack, and also berries are the best, and with a couple tablespoons of CocoWhip… They’re good for you!
Post a comment and let me know if you agree, Cocowhip is a whipped dream come true! #sorrynotsorry