Iron-Rich Foods for Healthy Energy Levels

Biologically speaking, Iron is a trace mineral and an essential nutrient that your body requires to function properly. It helps with immune function, detoxification, and the creation of several proteins and enzymes. One of these proteins is hemoglobin, a complex protein used by red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.

Iron deficiency anemia is a condition that occurs when your blood doesn’t contain enough iron, hemoglobin, or red blood cells to transport the oxygen you need from your lungs to your tissues. While there are several types of anemia, iron deficiency is by far the most common. Over 1.6 billion people worldwide are anemic. Of these, several hundred million have iron deficiency anemia. If you suspect that you have an iron deficiency, consult your healthcare provider. They may want to check your hematocrit levels, which is a test to see if you have too few red blood cells.

There are two types of dietary iron-heme and nonheme. Heme iron comes only from animal sources-meat, poultry, and seafood. Plant sources contain only nonheme iron, which isn’t as easily absorbed by your body as heme. This may be because certain phytochemicals in plants, including oxalates, polyphenols, tannins, and phytates promote slower, more controlled iron absorption.

Despite this, vegans and vegetarians don’t suffer from iron deficiency at any greater rate than meat-eaters do. There may be two reasons for this. First, plant-based diets tend to be high in vitamin C, which acutely increases iron absorption. Second, because vegetables are relatively low in calories and high in nutrients, vegans and vegetarians take in significantly more iron per calorie consumed. In other words, 100 calories of Spinach contains as much iron as 1700 calories of steak.

RDA of Iron

To prevent iron deficiency anemia, it’s important to consume the proper amount of iron for your body. Different life stages have different requirements, and women tend to need a little more than men. Consult these charts to find your recommended daily iron intake. Because of the slow, controlled bioavailability of nonheme iron, the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board recommends that vegans and vegetarians consume 1.8 times the RDA for iron.

Iron Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Nonvegetarians

Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
0-6 months .27 mg .27 mg N/A N/A
7-12 months 11 mg 11 mg N/A N/A
1-3 years 7 mg 7 mg N/A N/A
4-8 years 10 mg 10 mg N/A N/A
9-13 years 8 mg 8 mg N/A N/A
14-18 years 11 mg 15 mg 27 mg 10 mg
19-50 years 8 mg 18 mg 27 mg 9 mg
51+ years 8 mg 8 mg N/A N/A

Iron Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Vegans and Vegetarians

Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
0-6 months .27 mg .27 mg N/A N/A
7-12 months 20 mg 20 mg N/A N/A
1-3 years 12 mg 12 mg N/A N/A
4-8 years 18 mg 18 mg N/A N/A
9-13 years 14 mg 14 mg N/A N/A
14-18 years 19 mg 27 mg 48 mg 18 mg
19-50 years 14 mg 32 mg 48 mg 16 mg
51+ years 14 mg 14 mg N/A N/A

15 Plant-Based, Iron-Rich Foods for Healthy Energy Levels

Some of the most potent plant sources of iron are fortified cereals and flour. However, fortified foods and enriched flour are heavily processed and carry their own health risks. It’s always best to get your nutrition from natural sources. Fortunately, there are plenty of plant-based foods that you can incorporate into an iron-rich diet. Here are 15 of the top vegan food sources of iron.

1. Spirulina

A favorite in green juices and smoothies, spirulina is a blue-green algae rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. One tablespoon of spirulina contains 2 mg of iron.

2. Spinach

The list of health benefits from dark leafy green vegetables seems endless. They contain an abundance of antioxidants, folate, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. Most dark leafy greens also have a high iron content. Salad greens, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and bok choy are all excellent choices, but when it comes to iron, spinach brings the muscle. One cup of cooked spinach contains over 6 mg of the mineral.

3. Dried Beans

Beans are an excellent source of iron, though the exact content varies by type. White beans have one of the highest iron concentrations with almost 8 mg per cooked cup. One cup of cooked lentils provides 6.6 mg of iron, and the same quantity of kidney beans or chickpeas nets you about 5 mg. Other iron-rich beans include cowpeas, lima beans, and navy beans.

4. Green Peas

They belong to the same family of legumes as beans, so it’s no surprise that green peas are a respectable source of iron-2.5 grams per cooked cup.

5. Tempeh and Nattō

Soy products, like tofu, have an extremely high iron content. Unfortunately, soybeans are the most heavily genetically modified crop in the United States. As of 2016, 94% of all soybeans are GMO. To avoid the health risks associated with soy, look for products that are both organic and fermented. For a product to be considered organic, it cannot contain GMOs.

Nattō is a fermented soy product that boasts a very high iron content-an astounding 15 mg per cup. The iron concentration in tempeh isn’t nearly as high, but each cup of the fermented soy product still contains a respectable 4.5 mg.

6. Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are a boon to both heart health and overall wellness. They’re a natural source of several potent antioxidants, containing vitamin E, flavonoids, and lignans, particularly sesamin and sesamolin. These phytochemicals provide many health benefits. Sesame seeds are also a great source of iron. Just one ounce of the seeds contains 4.18 mg.

7. Dried Fruit

Fruit is a very good source of iron. Dried fruit may be even better, as it concentrates the nutrients in a small, non-perishable package. A half cup of dried fruit has the same nutrients as a cup of fresh fruit. Just make sure that you choose dried fruit with no added sugar. Some fruits sold as “dried” are actually “candied,” which means they were heated in a sugary syrup. Avoid “dried” dates, pineapple, and cherries for this reason.

Good choices include apricots, raisins, and prunes. Ten dried apricot halves contain 2 mg of iron while five prunes have 1.2 mg. One-half cup of raisins has 3 mg of the trace mineral.

8. Dark Chocolate

Good news! Dark chocolate has a wonderfully high iron content. Per ounce, dark chocolate has a higher iron density than steak. One 100 gram bar of 70-85% cacao chocolate contains 12 mg of iron. Unfortunately, this isn’t a free pass to eat all the chocolate you want. Eat dark chocolate in moderation, but when that irresistible sweet tooth hits, you could do a lot worse.

9. Pumpkin Seeds

Already a favorite autumnal treat, there are good reasons to start eating pumpkin seeds year-round. Also known as pepitas, one ounce of pumpkin seeds contain 4.2 mg of iron. They’re also a concentrated source of zinc, magnesium, and fatty acids.

10. Quinoa

Though classified as a whole grain, quinoa is technically a seed. While South Americans have been cultivating the plant for almost 5000 years, quinoa has seen a surge in popularity amongst North American health enthusiasts in the last several years, and it’s not very hard to see why. The seed is gluten-free and rich in protein, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, and thiamine (vitamin B1). And let’s not forget Iron! A cup of cooked quinoa contains almost 3 mg of iron.

11. Whole Grains

Refined grains use only the endosperm of a grain. This improves shelf life but robs the grain of many nutrients, including iron. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel?bran, germ, and endosperm, because of this, whole grains retain a much higher nutritional value. Brown rice, oats, and barley are all excellent choices for iron.

12. Dandelion Greens

While many people consider dandelions a nuisance, dandelion greens make a healthy addition to any salad. One hundred grams of raw dandelion greens contain 3 mg of iron. They’re also very high in vitamin C, which makes the iron they contain all the more absorbable.

13. Coconut

Coconut water and coconut oil are enjoying an all-time high in popularity right now, but what about coconut meat? Raw coconut meat packs in about 2.5 mg of iron per 100 grams. That’s around 10 mg for a whole coconut. Try it with a little lime and chili for a tart and spicy treat.

14. Curry Leaves

Curry leaves are a wonderful staple of Indian cooking and feature a high iron content. When used as a spice, curry is not consumed in large enough quantities to add a significant iron boost. However, curry leaf extracts are frequently used in high-quality, natural, vegan iron supplements. But don’t let that stop you from adding curry leaves to your cooking. Curry leaves, like most spices, also contain a wealth of other beneficial phytonutrients.

15. Blackstrap Molasses

Blackstrap molasses is a thick, dark syrup created as a byproduct of extracting sugar from sugar cane. While refined sugar has been completely stripped of its nutritional content, blackstrap molasses retains all the vitamins and nutrients found in the original plant. Basically, molasses is all the nutritional content that was stripped from refined sugar.

Because of this, blackstrap molasses has a very high nutrient density. Just one tablespoon contains anywhere from 3.5 to an astonishing 12.6 mg of iron twice as much as a rib eye steak! It’s also a significant source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium.

Supplementing With Iron

For most people, a diet that includes plenty food-derived iron should be sufficient to prevent iron deficiency. In certain cases, such as absorption issues or pregnancy, iron supplements may be the key to maintaining healthy iron levels. Do your research and look for natural supplements, as the synthetic versions lack the co-nutrients that let our bodies process and absorb the vital constituents of your food. You may want to find a supplement in pill form as liquid iron supplements can stain teeth.

I personally recommend Iron Fuzion™, Global Healing Center’s own iron supplement. Iron Fuzion uses iron extracted from the leaves of organic Murraya koenigii, better known as the curry tree, to create a natural, safe, vegan iron supplement.

Life Changing Foods

In our world today, it can feel impossible to figure out what to feed yourself and your family. You want to eat healthfully, though not to the point of deprivation—you don’t want to forfeit the soul-soothing comfort of a delicious meal. You want to pick the “right” foods, though just what those are isn’t always clear. Out of so much advice about which foods are supposed to be beneficial and which to avoid, how do you make sense of what it means for you? After all, you and your loved ones are special. You’ve faced specific symptoms and illnesses, suffered distinct injuries (emotional and otherwise), and have your own unique hopes and dreams.
What if you knew the exact foods to add to your life—foods to protect you, foods you could trust, foods that were tailored to your goals and your needs? Enter the life-changing foods.

All of the life-changing foods are amazing for overall health. Each one also has specialized properties so you can select what to eat based on your particular needs, whether on a physical, emotional, or spiritual level. One food, for example, can help you put an end to mystery infertility, combat autoimmune disease, stave off Alzheimer’s, ease ADHD, boost your immune system at bedtime, connect you back to your true self, and help you hold on to good memories—and that’s just for starters. (That food is raw honey; more on its other amazing attributes soon.)

When you discover these answers, you welcome healing knowledge that has the power to change everything. When you know what a fruit, vegetable, herb, spice, or wild food has to offer, and when you focus on eating more of it on a regular basis, you get to let go of the massive food confusion. Instead of living in fear and struggling to keep up with each day, you give your mind and body the fuel they need to adapt to our changing times. You finally get to take control of your life and to guide the ones you love to health and happiness.

Diabetes Mellitus

People with diabetes are unable to produce enough of the hormone insulin which is a compound that regulates the glucose level in the blood, the failure in insulin production in diabetic’s leads to a high blood sugar -glucose level in the body. This may not sound like much but an excess sugar or glucose content has serious complications and over time, such high levels of glucose in the blood can lead to the appearance of heart disease or it at least increases the risks, and nerve damage, it heightens the possibility of kidney disease, there could be a loss of vision, and high blood sugar brings many other complications in its stride including wounds that do not heal well and quickly enough. Diabetes is of two distinct types. The rare diabetes insipidus, or more commonly insulin-dependent diabetes or type 1 diabetes, which can develop at any age but usually develops before the age of 30. The second type of diabetes is called as diabetes mellitus, or more commonly non-insulin-dependent diabetes or type 2 diabetes; this form of the disorder accounts for 90% of diabetic cases, and it makes its appearance usually in middle age.

When the pancreas ceases its function of insulin production due to any reason, type 1 diabetes is said to have occurred, as insulin is necessary for glucose regulation in the blood. While the causes of this abrupt halt in the production of insulin is uncertain, it is believed by many scientists and researchers that an autoimmune disorder, where the body attacks its own pancreatic cells could be responsible, while others suggest the involvement of a virus. Thus those individuals who have unfortunately contracted diabetes type 1, a lifelong insulin dependency from an external source is necessitated, therefore such people are dependent on insulin throughout their lives. On the other hand, diabetes mellitus or the more common type 2 diabetes develops from insulin resistance in the body. The pancreatic function is normal, and insulin is produced in sufficient quantities, but for some reason, the cells in the body cannot use the insulin anymore. The presence or absence of a lot of body fat or obesity in people plays an important role in most cases of type 2 diabetes. Indeed obesity is one of the risk factors for contracting this form of diabetes. In the end, both these types of diabetes can arise in anybody due to genetic factors.

Supplements and Herbs:

These supplements that are being recommended can be used in conjunction with the prescription drugs which may be used for the treatment of the disease, both type 1 and type 2, diabetics can take advantage of these supplements. There could be a need to alter dosages for insulin or the hypoglycemic medications used in type 2 diabetes treatments, when these supplements are used, the changes in dosages or the application of changed doses must be done under the supervision of a qualified medical professional.

Diabetic nerve damage may be prevented by the B vitamins, which also help in the production of enzymes that are necessary for the derivation of energy from glucose. Lowering the blood glucose levels is one of the properties of the mineral chromium; concurrently it is effective in reducing cholesterol levels in diabetics. Blood sugar levels can often be controlled when using the herb Gymnema Sylvestre, which is a herb from India, the need for insulin and another hypoglycemic medication is not felt and reduced when this herb is used as a supplement.

The painful symptoms of diabetic neuropathy are alleviated by the intake of essential fatty acids, these also protect against nerve damage that often sets in on diabetics. The use of fish oils, as supplements, increases the levels of “good” HDL cholesterol; this may significantly reduce the risk and potential occurrence of heart disease. Damage to the nerves, to the eyes and to the heart is prevented through the use of antioxidant compounds in supplements. The excess buildup of plague may be blocked or prevented by vitamin E. Glucose metabolism in the body is improved by the alpha-lipoic acid. A deficiency in the mineral zinc characterizes many diabetics, this mineral helps the body utilize its insulin, and it also contributes to the faster healing of wounds and other injuries, which has slowed down, because of the high levels of sugar in the blood. The mineral copper can be added in the supplement if zinc is to be used as a long term supplement. The occurrence of diabetic eye damage may be prevented by the herb bilberry and release of insulin is improved in the body by taurine, which can also prevent the abnormal clotting of blood, which is a contributor to cardiac problems.

In Addition:

It is very important to take regular exercises. The chances or type 2 diabetes is lowered in those who burn more than 3,500 calories a week through exercise, such people are half as likely to develop type 2 diabetes when compared to those burning less than 500 calories a week. There are benefits in exercising even in people with type 1 diabetes. It is, therefore, advisable to lose weight especially if you are obese or are overweight, as this is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Blood sugar can be kept in check by consuming whole grains, plenty of fruits, and vegetables and avoiding high sugar foods.

 Recommended Dosage {Typical}

  • Bilberry, 160 mg two times daily. Standardized to contain 25% anthocyanosides.
  • Vitamin B complex, One pill every morning with a meal. Use a B-100 complex with 100 mcg of vitamin B12 and biotin; 400 mcg of folic acid; and 100 mg of all other B vitamins.
  • Chromium, 200 mcg three times daily with food. Chromium may alter insulin requirements.
  • Copper / Zinc, 2 mg copper, and 30 mg zinc daily. Copper should be added when using zinc longer than one month.
  • Gymnema Sylvestre, 200 mg two times a day. Gymnema Sylvestre may alter insulin requirements.
  • Taurine, 500 mg L-taurine two times daily on an empty stomach. Add mixed amino acids if using longer than one month.
  • Antioxidants, 400IU vitamin E, 1,000 mg vitamin C, and 150mg alpha-lipoic acid every morning. Alpha-lipoic acid can affect blood sugar.
  • Essential fatty acids, 1,000 mg evening primrose oil three times daily; 1,000 mg fish oils two times daily. 1,000 mg borage oil once a day may be used instead of primrose oil.

     For Children:

  • The blood sugar level in many children may be stabilized by the use of Siberian ginseng – also known as Eleutherococcus. In children, it is good to start with a low dose. This Siberian ginseng can be used for long-term treatment, once every other week. Breaks can be taken once every two months. The active component GLA in the oil of evening primrose herb has been shown capable of preventing nerve damage, where it has arisen due to the fluctuations in the blood sugar level. Dosages for children over the age of twelve are about one capsule a day.
    For your attention: children who have a fever are not to be given evening primrose oil.

     Beneficial Herbs:

    • Acai Berries
    • Beech
    • Bitter Melon
    • Cajueiro
    • Chaga Mushroom
    • Chia
    • Chiretta
    • Corydalis
    • Goat’s Rue
    • Gymnema
    • Jambul
    • Mesquite
    • Suma
    • Tamanu Nut Oil

Medicinal mushrooms are the new turmeric | MNN – Mother Nature Network

Mushrooms are the latest functional food shown to have science-backed health benefits beyond nutrients. Here are 5 to add to your must-eat list.

Source: Medicinal mushrooms are the new turmeric | MNN – Mother Nature Network

Almond Supplementation Lowers Uric Acid Levels in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease

  • Almonds (Prunus dulcis, Rosaceae)
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Serum Uric Acid

Higher serum levels of uric acid (UA) are increasing in prevalence globally and are associated with coronary artery disease (CAD) and a higher risk of heart attack or stroke in patients with no history of heart disease and stroke. An increase of 1 mg/dL in serum UA has been found to cause a 12% increase in the risk of CAD mortality. Almonds (Prunus dulcis, Rosaceae) are recognized for their lipid-neutralizing effects and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). A previous study found almond supplementation to prevent hyperuricemia in a CVD rat model. The goal of this randomized controlled trial (RCT) was to evaluate the UA-reducing potential of almond supplementation in patients with CAD.

The study recruited 150 patients with CAD from the Cardiology Clinic, Aga Khan University Hospital; Karachi, Pakistan. Patients who regularly consumed nuts or had nut allergies were excluded. Patients were randomly assigned into 1 of the following 3 groups of 50: no intervention (NI), supplementation with almonds grown in Pakistan (PA), and supplementation with imported American almonds (AA). Patients in the NI group were asked to abstain from consuming any nuts, specifically almonds, while enrolled in the RCT. Those in the PA and AA groups were given 10 g/day almonds and told to prepare them traditionally—soak overnight, peel, and eat before breakfast daily. Patients kept consumption diaries and compliance was monitored in twice-weekly phone calls. At baseline, blood was drawn and body weight, blood pressure (BP), and other measures were taken. Follow-up visits were scheduled at 6 and 12 weeks with the same measurements taken. Patients in the NI group received almonds at the end of the RCT.

Baseline demographics and serum UA were similar in all the groups (P>0.05). Patient weight and BP remained fairly constant in all groups throughout the 12-week study. At week 6, men in the PA group had a 15% reduction in UA, and women had a 12% reduction in UA, compared to the NI group (P<0.05). Men in the AA group had 17% less serum UA, and women 19% less, compared to NI (P<0.05). At week 12, men in the PA group had 17% less serum UA, and women 16% less, than those in the NI group (P<0.05). In the AA group at the end of the study, men had 20% less serum UA, and women 21% less, compared to NI (P<0.05). Compared to baseline, patients in the NI group showed negligible decreases in serum UA, whereas both the PA and AA groups had significant improvement (P<0.05) at both follow-up visits. Men in both active groups had 13% less serum UA at 6 weeks; women in the PA group, 11% less; and women in the AA group, 16% less. At 12 weeks, men in the PA group had improved 16% over baseline and women in the PA group had improved by 14%; and men and women in the AA group had 18% less serum UA than at baseline. This is the first almond intervention study in patients with CAD reporting on UA reduction.

Serum UA may be considered as a marker for vascular function, with anticipated pathways of damage including pro-oxidative and proinflammatory factors among others. Almond supplementation is known to positively affect some of these factors, including a possible reduction in C-reactive protein reported in some studies. Almonds contain L-arginine, a precursor of nitric oxide that has been reported to reduce BP in vivo. In this RCT, almost all patients were taking antihypertensive medications and no effect on BP was seen.

It should be noted that while this study differentiated between Pakistani and American almonds, and those in the AA group showed slightly more improvement than those in the PA group, there is no botanical difference between these almonds. Differences in constituents caused by time of harvest, a method of storage, and different cultivars might be considered in future studies. It should also be noted that the almond skin, discarded by patients in this study, is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, and possibly of other nutrients of interest. Future studies might compare effects of almonds with skins and those that have been peeled.

Resource:

Jamshed H, Gilani AUH, Sultan FAT, et al. Almond supplementation reduces serum uric acid in coronary artery disease patients: a randomized controlled trial. Nutr J. August 19, 2016;15:77. doi: 10.1186/s12937-016-0195-4.