Chances are at this time of year you are already feeling pretty exhausted. While many women often feel this way, the truth is there’s a lot more to extreme fatigue than just a busy schedule. Low iron levels can leave you feeling lousy with 1 in 3 women not getting enough iron – pretty alarming stats to consider when it comes to explaining why so many of us are feeling extra tired on a daily basis. And the good news is that it can be very easily managed!
Iron carries oxygen in our bloodstream.
Over time an inadequate intake of iron will gradually deplete our iron stores. This subtle process can take weeks or months which is why we often miss identifying low iron as a cause of tiredness, especially for busy women. Recent research has confirmed that too many Aussie women simply aren’t getting enough dietary iron with as many as 1 in 3 struggling to meet their iron requirements.
Low iron levels can easily be prevented with some simple changes to your diet.
While we get some iron from cereal grains and leafy green vegetables this iron is poorly absorbed compared to the iron found in lean red meat. Often women are sporadic red meat eaters, enjoying a steak, mince or the occasional burger. At a minimum active women require lean red meat in portions of 100-150g (raw weight), 3-4 times each week (up to 650g/week) to get the amount of iron they need for optimal energy production and immune functioning.
Not feeling your best?
It may be worthwhile to get a blood check to make sure your iron levels are within the normal range. And in the meantime, include a little lean red meat in your diet more often – a simple beef stir-fry; a weekly roast, a lean steak or quality lean sausages will do the trick and your body and energy levels will thank you for it. We don’t need a lot, but we do need good quality red meat in our diet regularly to help us be at our best on a daily basis.
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BBQ Vietnamese style beef salad
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
750g porterhouse steak, fat trimmed
2 carrots, sliced into ribbons using a peeler
1 tbsp rice vinegar
125 g vermicelli noodles
¼ wombok (Chinese cabbage), finely shredded
1 cucumber, sliced into ribbons using a peeler
150 g snow peas, sliced diagonally
½ cup mint leaves
¼ cup peanuts (plain, unsalted), chopped, to serve (optional)
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
3 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp finely grated ginger
1. Brush steak with oil and season with pepper. Cook on a BBQ (or grill pan) over medium / high heat for 4 minutes each side for medium rare or until cooked to your liking. Remove and rest.
2. Peel carrot into ribbons with a vegetable peeler and toss with the rice vinegar. Leave to pickle for 10 minutes.
3. Cover vermicelli in boiling water for 5 minutes or until tender, drain and rinse with cold water, drain again. Combine the dressing ingredients.
4. Combine cabbage, carrot plus pickling liquid, vermicelli, cucumber, snow peas and mint leaves and toss with dressing. Slice beef across the grain into strips and toss through the salad, top with peanuts.