Symptoms or Winter Blahs?

Iron is an essential nutrient; your body needs iron to help carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of your body and helps produce energy. When you aren’t consuming or absorbing enough iron, there can be significant consequences to your health, energy levels, appearance, ability to concentrate, and so forth.

There are a few common symptoms that can often be confused for general sicknesses or the “winter blahs” but they should not be ignored as they could be a sign of iron deficiency:

Always Feeling Cold

As we all know, Winter brings along the dreaded cold weather, but if you find that you can never seem to shake the chill or get warm then this could be a sign of iron deficiency. Think of your body as a coal furnace and the iron as the coal; if you’re not putting enough coal into the furnace, then it will never create enough heat to warm up the entire house.
Until you appropriately fuel your body with the iron it needs, you will continue to feel cold, especially when others are not.

Read more here: Are You Always Cold?

Feeling Tired

Although the holidays are a time to kick back and relax with family and friends, it often brings about tons of shopping, numerous holiday parties to attend, and so forth. Feeling tired after a long and busy day is typical, but feeling that you are constantly in a state of fatigue is not. In fact, chronic fatigue is a common symptom of iron deficiency.

Chronic fatigue could be the cause of other underlying conditions such as diabetes, depression, thyroid problems, etc. It’s important to check if you have any other symptoms related to iron deficiency to help get to the bottom of the chronic fatigue.

Read more here: Experiencing Chronic Fatigue

Pale Skin

Unless you take off for a tropical vacation, you may be looking a little pale throughout the Winter season. However, you shouldn’t mistake this for just a lack of vitamin D from the sun. If you experienced a sudden onset of paleness, or have been unusually pale, it is advisable to seek the advice of a healthcare professional.

Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common causes for pale skin, and often one of the first noticeable signs. Since iron aids in producing hemoglobin which helps carry oxygen to your muscles and organs, paleness is caused by reduced blood flow.

It’s important to be proactive and be in-the-know when it comes to your symptoms and what they can mean. Utilize this Symptoms Checker to help identify your symptoms and if you are in an at-risk group.

5 Iron-Rich Snacks & Treats for Holiday Parties

The holiday season is upon us and this often means many parties, potlucks, and social gatherings. So, if you’re going to bring a yummy treat to share, why not give the gift of iron? Here are a few ideas for you:

(1 cup black beans = 9.7 mg of iron)

Substituting black beans into a cake recipe is not only healthier and gets you closer to your daily iron intake goals, but it’s also delicious, believe it or not! There are tons of black bean cake recipes available online, but see below for one of my favourites!

1-15 ounce can of unseasoned black beans
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/2 cup of honey or other sweetener + 1/2 teaspoon pure stevia extract
6 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon of water (omit if using honey)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease a 9 cake pan with extra virgin olive oil, or a thin layer of butter.
Drain and rinse beans. Shake off excess water.
Place beans, 3 of the eggs, vanilla, stevia and salt into blender. Blend on high until beans are completely liquefied. Whisk together cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder.
Beat butter with sweetener until light and fluffy.
Add remaining two eggs, beating for a minute after each.
Pour bean batter into egg mixture and mix.
Finally, stir in cocoa powder and water (if using), and beat the batter on high for one minute, until smooth.
Scrape batter into pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 40-45 minutes.
Cake is done with the top is rounded and firm to the touch.

(1 cup sweet potato cubed = 0.8 mg of iron)

I bet that you can’t have just one of these delicious chips. It’s okay to indulge in this snack because it’s a healthier alternative and also contains some iron! Just slice, lightly cover with extra light olive oil, season with pepper, and bake!

(1 cup dry oatmeal = 29.9 mg of iron)

Instead of pairing this classic recipe with chocolate chips (although one of my personal favourites), which can inhibit the absorption of iron, try adding dried nuts like almonds (1 cup ground = 3.5 mg if iron) or dried fruit like apricots (1 cup = 7.5 mg of iron) or raisins (1 cup = 3.1 mg of iron).

(100 grams of gingerbread = 2.9 mg of iron)

When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with gingerbread cookies; a holiday classic! Much of the iron contents come from the chewy, ooey-gooey ingredient molasses (1/2 cup = 7.95 mg of iron).

(1 cup mashed bananas = 0.6 mg of iron ; 1 cup mixed nuts = 3.5 mg of iron)

This serves well as a desert loaf (or even as a slice for breakfast the morning after) and the mixed nuts help to kick up the iron content! Just be mindful with this one because, depending on the recipe, this loaf can be high in fat and calories. Slice into small portions and serve.

Happy holidays and happy snacking!