Symptoms and prevention of iron deficiency

By Betty Murray

Iron is a mineral used by the body to perform numerous functions. As part of the protein hemoglobin, iron is responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. The muscles also use iron to store oxygen. Additionally, iron is part of enzymes used in various cell functions throughout the body, such as digestion.

Because your body relies on iron for so many different functions, too little iron can be a detriment to your body in a number of ways. According to the CDC, iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency and is the leading cause of anemia in the United States.

Symptoms of iron deficiency

If you aren’t getting enough iron in your diet, you may notice symptoms of iron deficiency anemia, such as:

  • Feeling tired and weak
  • Difficulty maintaining body temperature
  • Decreased immune function
  • Inflamed tongue (glossitis)
  • Heavy periods
  • Pale and “sickly” in color
  • Easily get short of breath
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Headache
  • Pica (craving non-food substances such as dirt and ice)
  • Hair loss

Treatment and prevention of iron deficiency

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, schedule an appointment with your physician. If your doctor finds you have an iron deficiency, he or she may prescribe iron supplements and/or an iron-rich diet to treat your deficiency.

Iron deficiency leading to anemia is often (though not always) diet-related. Examples of healthy, iron-rich foods include: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat free or nonfat milk and milk products, lean meats, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts.

Recommended dietary allowance for iron

The recommended dietary allowance for iron varies by age and gender. Women ages 19 to 50 should get 18mg/day of iron. In general, women require more iron than men. Women between 51-70 should get 8mg/day and women over age 70 need less than 8mg/day. If you are pregnant or nursing, your iron needs change. Pregnant women should get about 27mg/day, whereas lactating women need just about 9mg/day. Men ages 19 and older need just 8mg/day.

Learn more information on iron and iron deficiency at cdc.gov.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

 

Pumpkin Seeds: Small seeds, big health benefits


By Betty Murray

Did you know pumpkin seeds are packed full of nutritional benefits. When it’s time to carve pumpkins this year, don’t be too quick to throw away the seeds. Pumpkin seeds are a delicious and nutritious snack, in fact, they are some of the most nutritious seeds we can eat.

Pumpkin seeds are rich in several nutrients, including Omega 3s, fiber, iron, magnesium and zinc, which are all essential for a healthy body. They have health benefits for both men and women. Pumpkin seeds contain zinc, which helps to promote prostate and bone health in men. They also contain anti-inflammatory properties, which can help individuals with arthritis. The phytosterols found in pumpkin seeds (as well as pistachios, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds) can even help lower cholesterol.

Other ways pumpkin seeds can benefit your health:

  • Eating pumpkin seeds can help you get a good night’s sleep. They are rich in the sleep-enhancing amino acid, tryptophan, which converts to serotonin in your body and helps you sleep.
  • High in protein, which stabilizes blood sugar and helps promote weight loss.
  • Rich in magnesium, which benefits heart health.
  • High in iron, which boosts energy and production of blood.

 

Pumpkin seeds can be purchased in packaged containers year around, but who not take advantage of fresh pumpkin seeds this fall? Now is the ideal time to enjoy the flat, green seeds. If stored in an airtight container and refrigerated, the seeds you pull out of your jack-o-lantern will even stay edible for several months.

There are several ways to enjoy pumpkin seeds, but roasting them is an all-time favorite. To prepare pumpkin seeds, remove them from the pumpkin and remove any pulp on them. Let the seeds dry overnight, before roasting them in the oven. Set your oven temp to about 160 degrees, and bake for 15-20 minutes. This light roasting will help seal in the healthy oils the seeds contain.

The seeds can be eaten on their own, drizzled lightly with olive oil, or added as a crunchy topping to vegetables, salad, cereal and even cookies. There are a number of delicious pumpkin seed recipes, but one favorite recipe is spiced pumpkin seeds.

You will need:

1 ½ tablespoons of melted margarine
½ teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of garlic salt
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds

For complete directions to this recipe, click this link to AllRecipes.com

Carving pumpkins is always a fun, family holiday. Get the most out of your pumpkin carving by enjoying the benefits of a delicious, nutritious pumpkin seed snack.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.