Iron is a key component of your body' s oxygen carrying and distribution
pathways. But for many females, endurance athletes, or individuals
predisposed to anemia, it can be difficult to practically consume enough
As with all nutritional habits, rather than just blindly "popping pills" and
relying strictly on supplements, it is ideal for your body to achieve
adequate vitamin, nutrient, and mineral intake via natural means.
Supplements can be highly effective, but remember that you must eat real
So I' m going to share with you 10 very effective, practical, easy and tasty
ways to optimize your iron intake.
1. Eat the following salad 1x/day: a. iron salad. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of wheat germ or unsweetened bran
cereal (available in cereal section of grocery store) on a 1-2 handfuls of
spinach and romaine lettuce. Include a handful of chopped broccoli and 2
tablespoons of garbanzo, kidney, lima, pinto, black beans, or navy beans.
You can also include a 1-2 teaspoons of chopped olives and 1-2 chopped
celery stalks. Use an olive oil/vinaigrette dressing, and include if
available 1-2 pinches of parsley, thyme, oregano and/or basil.
2. Eat 1 handful per day of the following snack mix: 1 part pumpkin
seeds, 1 part soy nuts, 1 part sesame seeds, 1 part raisins, craisins, or
3. Include the following meal in your diet 2x/week: roasted or sautéed
asparagus (3-5 pieces), sautéed with tofu, sea salt, pepper, turmeric to
taste, lemon juice and slivered almonds. Include if available 1-2 pinches of
parsley, thyme, oregano and/or basil. This is a very easy and quick meal to
make and pack for lunches or eat as a side for dinner.
4. Other good produce foods to include regularly in salads and as lunch
or dinner sides, and purchase frequently when at the grocery store: string
beans or green beans, kale, mustard greens, kelp, Brussels sprouts, olives,
green peas, fennel and celery.
5. Ensure that your multi-vitamin includes: ferrous sulfate, ferrous
fumarate or ferrous succinate. If not, supplement with iron.
6. Wait at least 1 hour after a meal before drinking any black or green
7. Include a few sprinkles of cinnamon with all breakfast foods, yogurts,
8. If you consume oatmeal, consider substituting with cooked quinoa,
which is higher in iron.
9. If possible, eat a serving of red meat (the side of a deck of cards)
10. Chopped fresh dill weed or dill spice and a dark red salmon (4-6oz)
go very well together and would be another excellent dinner choice. You can
serve with roasted asparagus, or any of the other vegetables listed above.
Crimini mushrooms also are high in iron and would be excellent sautéed with
Remember that nutritional consulting for athletes, weight loss, or general
health is always available through www.pacificfit.net/bengreenfield.html.
Until next time, train and eat smart!
Ben Greenfield is the Renaissance man of the sport of triathlon.
He' s a fast triathlete, a coach, a personal trainer, and much more more.