Once I went vegetarian/vegan and felt tired all the time, is that normal?
This a pretty common problem for a lot of new vegetarians, especially young women. And for International Women’s Day what better topic for a health blog than iron?
Most new vegetarians are prone to blame tiredness on a lack of protein, but you may be surprised to hear that usually tiredness is a symptom of a lack of iron. Most people don’t think about not getting enough iron in relation to a plant based diet the same way they worry about getting enough protein. This is interesting since the average American consumes about 50% more protein than necessary and 10% of young American women are not getting enough iron (regardless of diet)
Taking in enough iron is extremely important, especially for women. Iron helps our blood transport oxygen and enzymes throughout our bodies. It also helps protect against the development of free radicals.
A lack of iron can lead to anemia, reduced bone density, and growth problems.
To be sure you’re getting enough iron there are things you can do.
- First of all, avoiding dairy products. Dairy products are mucus forming and make absorption of iron and other nutrients difficult.
- Next, eat foods high in iron. You can get iron from foods like soy products, kale, spinach, beans, quinoa, seeds, potatoes with skin, even thyme!
- Last, you can improve absorption by eating foods high in vitamin C during meals. Vitamin C isn’t only found in fruit. Along with citrus fruit, there is high vitamin C in all sorts of peppers, kale, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and a many other foods.
So try the vegetarian/vegan thing again. Just make sure you plan ahead and eat healthy.