Iron Rich Green Smoothies

As you can imagine, this week has been all about iron!  What it is, how to get it and how to raise the iron levels in your body.  I don’t want to give up my vegetarian lifestyle, I love it!  So it’s all about finding balance between being a vegetarian and being a woman! Thank you to all those who kindly contacted me to share their experiences, it was much appreciated.Iron Boosting Green Smoothies

I’ve learnt a lot about how to tackle low iron levels.  I’ve come up with an easy system to tailor your greens smoothies to be iron rich. I’ve also worked out some great snacks and meals to increase the iron levels in my bones.  I’ve looked in some advice from Sally regarding Floravital by Floradix.  It’s a liquid iron supplement that seems to be very pure in origin. It doesn’t contain any nasties from what I can see.   I’ve just started my first dose this morning.  I’ll be doing another blood test for iron in around eight weeks.  I’m really interested to see if my iron levels have improved.

Here’s a few of the highlights I’ve learnt this week.  Iron and protein are not the same thing.  Protein helps to rebuild and repair the muscles.  Iron helps to carry oxygen around the body via the blood stream.  When iron levels are low, the amount of red blood cells is reduced, which in turn reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood stream.  An oxygenated body is a healthy body.

Low iron levels can cause a number of side effects. In more extreme case it can cause fatigue, paleness, breathlessness and dizziness.  It is possible to overdose on iron if you take an excessive amount. Make sure iron supplements are stored safely away from children.

Iron Rich Green Smoothies Formula

1. Choose a leafy green for your smoothie (greens are iron rich).
2. Add a fruit that is high in Vitamin C (this aids iron absorption).
You can also add any extra fruit or herbs you’d like to include in your smoothie.
3. Add water and blend.

Here’s some examples to get you started.  Choose any combination you like or make up your own iron rich combinations!

1. Choose a Leafy Green 2. Choose a Vit C Fruit 3. Add Water & Blend
Spinach Kiwi Fruit Coconut Water
Swiss Chard Berries Filtered Water
Bok Choy Citrus Fruit
Kale Papaya
Beet Leaves Pineapple

Iron Boosting FoodI came up with iron rich snacks to get me through the afternoons.  Slice firm tofu into small bite sized squares.  Top with hummus, sliced tomatoes and few of your favorite herbs.  The tofu and hummus will provide you with iron.  The tomato is full of Vitamin C and will help you to absorb the iron.  They taste great and certainly jazz up a piece of plain tofu!  Some other great iron rich foods you include in your meals are Quinoa, capsicum, chickpeas and dried beans.  I’m thinking felafels, Quinoa with lots of thinly sliced veggies and Mexican beans with salad. Yum!

Lastly on my quest to restore my iron, I’ve booked in for an ultra sound to make sure everything is okay.  I’m sure it is but it never hurts to be sure when it comes to your health!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  I will be busy ironing – yes literally!

If you found this helpful or know of someone who is also finding maintaining iron levels a challenge, please share it with them.  If you have any great iron rich recipes, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

The Results Are In & I Need Your Help!

Cholesterol Ferritin & Menstration5I usually have a blood test very six months to check my cholesterol and my iron levels.  I accidentally missed my check, which should have been in February.  I booked in straight after arriving back from Fiji.  I wanted to see if there were any significant changes to my blood.  The results were very interesting.

Cholesterol
My cholesterol levels were amazing.  Even my doctor was surprised.  In 2013 my overall cholesterol was 4.8.  This year my cholesterol was 3.7!  That’s without any medication, that’s purely based on lifestyle and diet.  This was my biggest confirmation yet that you can control your cholesterol by what you choose to eat.

My HDL or good cholesterol levels were at 1.8 and my LDL or bad cholesterol was at 1.5.  These are brilliant results.  Measuring your results is the best way to see how your body is going and if there are any tune-ups required.

Cholesterol Ferritin & Menstration Iron Levels
This brings me to my next point.  While my cholesterol was great, my ferritin (iron) levels were quite low.  I found this quite baffling as I eat A LOT of dark leafy greens, broccoli, lentils, beans, chickpeas, beetroot, nuts and seeds.  I also eat several eggs per week.  I thought I had this covered.

The doctor explained that iron exists in the body in two ways.  The first is the iron that is being used in your system.  The second is the iron that is stored in your bones.  I had plenty of iron in my system.  The iron stores in my bones were very low.  At this stage I was not anemic but would need to boost my iron stores.

Vegetarian Iron Sources
I did a little research and have a few theories about why my levels are low. Turns out that vegetarians need to eat a greater amount of iron to maintain their levels.  The only extra thing I’ve added in to my diet is firm tofu.   The rest of the iron rich foods I am already eating.

Cholesterol Ferritin & MenstrationI did learn that you can increase your iron absorption by eating foods high in vitamin C.  These include oranges, kiwi fruit, strawberries, tomatoes, capsicum and cabbage amongst a few others. My solution – add the fruits into my green smoothies!

Menstruation
What I really believe is influencing my low ferritin levels is my periods.  After the stroke, I stopped taking the contraceptive pill.  My periods became very heavy.  This has been going now for three years. I have also had to take a low dose aspirin to thin the blood, post stroke.  I believe this causing the problem of iron loss.

My doctor recommended doing an ultra sound to make sure there was not some other cause.  This is on the list to do for September.  The question is how do increase my ferritin levels back to a healthy range?

The doctor had three ideas.Cholesterol Ferritin & Menstration 8
1.    A hysterectomy
2.    Using an IUD (contraceptive device)
3.    Iron supplements

I’m not in love with any of these ideas at the moment.  I’m determined to find a way to increase my levels naturally.  This is where I’m hoping you can help me.

If you know of any ways to increase your ferritin levels naturally,
I’d love to hear about it.

Please share your comments below and help me solve this!  If you found this valuable, please share it with your family and friends.  I’m sure I can’t be on the only woman with this issue.  Hope you have a fantastic weekend!