Why iron is important for athletes:
Iron is used in red blood cells to carry the oxygen in your body. Low levels of iron can lead to anemia, which can have a devastating effect on your body, especially for an athlete.
Who is more at risk?
Failure to consume regular meals and eating a lot of processed snacks can also be risky, since iron is generally not present in those items.
If you think you are at risk, assess your iron status by having a blood test done by your physician every 6 months.
How can we increase our consumption to prevent anemia?
All food groups can contain iron sources and it is wise to follow healthy guidelines such as these to ensure the right consumption:
Animal derived sources also known as heme-iron are better absorbed than plant-based sources (non-heme iron). Liver, poultry, red meat and fish are the best sources of heme-iron and your body will absorbs about 15% of the iron content compared to 5% from a plant-based rich source such as spinach and dried fruits.
Vitamin C found in bright coloured fruits and veggies has a super power to increase the absorption of iron. So make sure to consume them both together! Iron also have enemies such as chocolate, tea and coffee because they contain tannins that decrease the absorption.
How much do I need per day?
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