I 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.
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.
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.
I 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!
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?
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!