Monday, July 20, 2009
Iron, You Won't Endure Without It!
Exercise in the absence of oxygen is anaerobic. Exercise in the absence of adequate iron intake is just plain foolishness. However iron poor blood is the most prevalent deficiency found in athletes, especially women and endurance runners. Iron is a must have for hemoglobin and myoglobin, the two proteins responsible for carrying oxygen throughout our circulatory system. Without it, muscles do not function correctly and their capacity for work is poor. In other words endurance is caput! Signs of iron deficiency include: feeling tired and weak, decreased attention at work and school, difficulty maintaining body temperature (chills) and increased susceptibility to infection. If your exercise performance has declined, ask your physician to test your serum ferritin and hemoglobin levels at your next physical. I've counseled many student athletes who have returned from their first year at college with anemia. Dorm foods are notoriously low in iron and are further compromised by poor eating habits. Iron rich foods include fortified whole grain breads and cereals, lean red meats and poultry, dark green vegetables (think Popeye and spinach), beans, nuts and legumes. Vitamin C helps iron get absorbed so have a side of orange juice with your cereal in the morning. For more on iron go to:http://ods.od.nih.gov/facksheets/iron.asp