5 Ways to Get More Iron | STACK 4W

5 Ways to Boost Your Iron Intake

February 25, 2013 | Kait Fortunato

Must See Nutrition Videos


Do you feel sluggish or fatigued during a workout or in your day-to-day activities? If so, you may have an iron deficiency.

Iron is a critical mineral that helps transport oxygen to muscle cells. When oxygen enters your bloodstream through your lungs, it attaches to the iron molecule of hemoglobin (a protein carried by red blood cells). The oxygenated blood then travels throughout the body, delivering oxygen to cells in need. Learn more about special iron needs for female athletes.

Iron exists in two forms: heme and nonheme. Heme iron is found in animal foods and is more easily absorbed. Nonheme iron is found in vegetables and is used to "fortify" foods with iron, but it's not as easily absorbed.

Although iron is essential to your health and performance, it does not naturally occur in the body. So it's important to follow these tips to ensure that you consume enough of this vital mineral.

Eat red meat, dark poultry or fish

Eat these foods once a week, but be mindful that red meat and dark poultry contain high levels of saturated fat.

Consume vitamin C with iron

To better absorb nonheme iron, you must eat foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and juices.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Opt for iron-fortified items

Have a small bowl of iron-fortified cereal with an orange for breakfast. Some of my favorite cereals are Cream of Wheat and Raisin Bran.

Choose iron-enriched grains, pasta and bread

Try wheat germ or barley instead of rice, 10- to 20%-iron-enriched pasta or iron-enriched whole wheat bread. Pair these with your favorite veggies, protein source or fruit.

Use a cast-iron pot or pan

Cooking with cast iron infuses iron into your food, especially acidic foods like tomato sauce and vinegar.

Source: Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness

Photo: amillionlives.net

Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...

Training Centers

FIND A STACK VELOCITY SPORTS
PERFORMANCE LOCATION NEAR YOU

Connect

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be the fittest you ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Tips for Healthy Weight Gain

Tips for Healthy Weight Gain For most athletes, gaining weight can be harder than it sounds, especially if you want to do it the right way. Gaining...

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

Foods for Athletes: Top Trends for 2014

How to Deal With Your Sugar Cravings

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

The Boston Cannons'

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

5 Ways to Fuel Your Early Morning Workout

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

Diet Changes: 5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Plan

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

The Case for Red Meat

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

3 Nutrition Mistakes Endurance Athletes Make and How to Fix Them