Iron is an essential mineral for the human body. Iron is integral in transporting oxygen throughout the body and is also an important part of producing energy. Unfortunately, something like 15% of women are iron deficient. And you should note that when you engage in strenuous activity your bloodflow is increased, which subsequently depletes your iron (due to the higher turnover of red blood cells). So for a female athlete or a woman involved in strenuous activity, keeping blood enriched with iron is vitally important.
Iron exists in your bloodstream as part of an oxygen-transporting protein named Hemoglobin. Iron also exists within your muscle cells as part of Myoglobin protein which receives and stores oxygen inside muscle tissue. If your blood is deficient in iron you’re going to be having a short training day accompanied by a long recovery.
One obvious way to tell if you happen to be deficient in iron is a low level of energy. Iron is an important component in your body’s metabolism to produce energy. So when you’re lacking iron, a lack of energy is sure to follow. Iron deficiency can quickly lead to anemia, which is really going to put a damper on your workout schedule and, really, every aspect of your daily activity.
It is crucial for women who engage in training to intake a good
supply of iron. The harder you work the harder your body works.
If you’re serious about training, become serious about nutrition.
Animal protein is the single best source of the type of iron, and is easily absorbed into the bloodstream. If you love shellfish you’re in luck! Clams, oysters and mussels are terrific sources of iron. Almost as good is liver - really most any kind is rich in iron. Red meat is a very good source as well, and the redder the meat, the heavier the concentration of iron. In addition, there are foods and supplements that are helpful in making sure you absorb as much iron as possible. For example, eating meat together with vegetables means you’re getting the iron along with plenty of vitamin C, which optimizes your ability to absorb the iron.
If you’re thinking spinach is a good way to get more iron, forget it. Our good friends at Dr. Sager’s SkinCare suggest that Popeye’s super strength gained from ingesting spinach is largely psychological - spinach is no more fortified with iron than any other leafy green and reports that suggest otherwise are based on inaccurate data from long ago. Also, the iron that comes from vegetables is different from the iron from meat sources; it is less easily absorbed into the bloodstream - so female vegetarian athletes be aware!
It is absolutely crucial for women who engage in strenuous training to intake a good supply of iron. The harder you work the harder your body works to deliver blood all over. Sister, if you’re serious about training then it’s time to become serious about nutrition.