If you feel as though when you wake up as if you are on a boat in high winds, or when you get out of your bed in the morning you wonderif you are experiencing an earthquake, if you climb three steps you feel as though you have run 3 kilometres – then it’s likely that your iron reserves have been depleted.
The first thing you must do is see your doctor, you urgently need to do blood tests, you need to rest and eat a good diet (red meat, beetroots, broccoli, spinach and lentils).
My personal experience. “I am a person who loves their work and I work non-stop 12 hours per day. I can never refuse if someone needs my help, especially with regard to someone else’s well-being, at the expense of my own.
I don’t like red meat at all and I never eat foods with iron in them. I never took any food supplements, not even iron on those difficult days of the month, although we women do lose a lot of iron. So when I had a bout of gastroenteritis two months ago, I was completely exhausted, and because I didn’t want to go to the hospital to be put on a drip, I fought it by myself and I did recoverbut depleted my electrolytes, resulting in dizziness and dehydration. I wasn’t eating properly and with a heavyworkload I woke up one morning to find the room spinning around me. I went straight to the hospital where they found that my blood pressure was very low, and did some tests which were not very encouraging. I had people around me who supported me right from the start (a good opportunity to learn who will stand by you in hard times!), and with the right treatment, diet and rest I managed to get back to my normal levels. I still need to look after myself, in particular with regard to my diet. At the instigation of my favourite nurse, and due to the fact that I work very hard in the summer, it being the season when I give swimming lessons in the sea as well as yoga lessons on the beach, I created a weekly nutrition programme of foods rich in iron andcarbohydrates so that I have the energy and strength to meet the demands of the work I love so much.
I wanted to share my experience with you to make you stop and think if you look after yourselves as you should. If you do then you are lucky, if not, try to focus on yourself more. If you can reach the heights with no strength, just think what you could do if you had it…
Research has shown that vegetables are rich in Vitamin C which aids in the absorption of iron from meals containing animal protein (meat, eggs). Specifically we must frequently eat one or more of the following vegetables:
Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, peppers (green, red and yellow), carrots, tomatoes. Food which contains spinach (spanakorizo), or red meat such as beef, we must add a lot of lemon juice which, due to its Vitamin C content helps the body to absorb the iron. We combine the natural foods that are rich in iron with foods containing animal protein. For example I combine a plate of lentils with a portion of tuna or 3-4 sardines, but without cheese.
When I eat eggs and meat I try to avoid consuming green vegetables such as ‘horta’, lettuce and roka because their fibre content reduces the absorption of iron by the body.
Don’t drink coffee or black tea immediately after a meal because the tannin they contain hinders the absorption of iron. Never eat cheese with meat or with natural foods containing iron because it reduces the absorption of not only iron but also calcium. In general we should reduce our intake of foods which contain tannin, such as artichokes, raisins and chestnuts because not only do they result in less absorption of iron, but also calcium and magnesium.
I hope I’ve learned my lesson!
Good luck to us all!