Eating ice? Finding it hard to focus?
Do you procrastinate, lose concentration, or feel tired all the time? Do you crave ice? Want to focus better?
As a freelancer and entrepreneur, health is the foundation of your productivity and enjoying the reasons you work. Don't let low iron hold you back.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, nearly 1 in 10 non-pregnant women have low iron. Pregnant women are especially vulnerable. Even with lower daily intake needs, men can have low iron.
If you don't eat much meat or you're trying a diet you read about online, this post is for you. Here's an overview of iron and iron-rich foods to help you feel great and work better!
Low iron makes life hard; make sure you're getting enough each day
Why do we need iron for better focus?
We use iron, nutritionally a mineral, in hundreds of proteins, enzymes, and processes. The one we're focused on here is oxygen transport.
With zero oxygen from air to process energy, your body's tissues die. Your body uses iron to make a protein called hemoglobin (Hgb) to circulate oxygen. It's what gives your red blood cells and your blood its red color.
Breathing is how you get air in your body; hemoglobin is how you get it to your cells.
A break in this chain leaves your cells getting less oxygen than they need. If this happens, your body will prioritize essential functions like keeping your brain alive. Forget about things like focus, willpower, and creativity.
Imagine how hard it would be to concentrate (or do anything) while breathing through a straw all day. You'll know the feeling if you've ever traveled through mountains.
Basically, low iron makes you feel tired!
Read more: LPI Micronutrient Info Center- Iron
Do you have low iron? Maybe, if you...
- Feel tired for no reason
- Chew or crave ice cubes
- Get dizzy or feel the urge to lie down often
- Get headaches
- Have a swollen tongue
If you (or your children!) have these symptoms, check your food sources of iron, consider taking a vitamin with iron, and talk to your healthcare provider.
They can test your blood's hemoglobin levels. Low hemoglobin is a type of anemia with several potential causes. Some are easily corrected with more iron or vitamin B intake.
Check your iron intake!
Non-pregnant women 19-50 years old need 18mg iron per day
men older than 19 need 8mg per day
- Fortified breakfast cereal
- Liver (3.6 mg/ounce)
- Meat and fish (1.6 mg/ounce)
- Beans, nuts, peanut butter (3.3 mg/ 1/2 cup cooked beans)
- Tofu (6.6 mg/ 1/2 cup)
- Dark, leafy vegetables (6.4 mg/cup cooked spinach)
- Potatoes with skins- keep it healthy (1.8 mg/ potato)
You don't need meat to get enough iron- you just need to make sure you get enough every day!
Vitamin C improves your iron absorption- try eating with bell peppers or fruit, or drinking juice if you're taking a vitamin.
Iron is the understated element of better focus, productivity, and health. If you're feeling tired all the time, be sure you're getting adequate amounts or iron-rich foods each day. If it keeps up, talk to your healthcare provider.
P.S. Learn more about your amazing body with this cool animated video about blood regulation: