Managing your iron levels is very important for women when exercising regularly. One of the most common nutritional deficiencies among female athletes is iron-deficiency anaemia.
So, if you’re training for a marathon or, just simply trying to lose weight, it’s important to keep an eye on your diet. Around 75% of women aged between 18 and 44 do not eat enough iron-rich foods. Iron deficiency can make you feel unwell and can lower exercise performance. This could lead you to feel less confident on your favourite exercise equipment which you don't want.
To maintain an adequate level of iron intake in your diet you need to eat right. It doesn't matter whether you’re vegetarian or you eat meat there are lots of good, tasty sources of iron.
Here’s an example menu that you could use if you're not sure how to start off:
Bran flakes and a grape fruit – Great source of iron with 8.1mg (half your daily amount)
Peanut butter on wholemeal toast and orange juice (Both contain iron)Lunch
Bacon and lentil soup (red meat is a great source of iron)Or
Carrot and lentil soup (lentils contain 6.6mg of iron in one cup)Dinner
Lamb curry with spinach and green peppers (lamb contains 3.7mg per 100g)Or
Chickpea curry with spinach and green peppers (100g of chickpeas actually contains 6.2mg of iron)Snacks
Cashew nuts are brilliant to snack on during any part of the day as they contain 6.2mg per 100g and are very tasty!
Dark chocolate is also very tasty and packed full of iron with 17mg per 100g.
So it really doesn’t matter whether you’re a meat eater, vegetarian or vegan you can still enjoy a balanced diet packed with iron.
The recommended iron intake for women between 19 and 50 is 18mg and for men of the same age it’s 8mg.
If you're unsure or worried about your iron levels it's best to talk to a medical professional. They can help you find a diet that's right for you.
Photo Credit: The Guardian