Is iron deficiency weighing you down?

Plus: Age is just a number.

Tuesday. And just like that, we are back on the moon. Well, kind of. Odysseus, the first U.S. spacecraft on the moon since 1972, arrived safely but didn’t quite stick the landing. The vehicle tipped over, limiting the transfer of information back to Earth through its antennas. Bummer. 

Speaking of bummers, you might be iron deficient and not even know it. Why does that matter? Let’s dive in.


Iron Deficiency Weighing You Down? 

When we talk about eating right, we often focus on the big picture, like calories or whether we're eating enough fruits and veggies. But there's a smaller, equally important detail we can't overlook: the vitamins and minerals our bodies need but can't make on their own, like iron. 

Iron is a crucially important nutrient, primarily because of its role in how our bodies use oxygen. Iron is a key part of hemoglobin—the stuff in our red blood cells that carries oxygen all over our body. If we don't have enough iron, we can't make enough hemoglobin, and our body starts to struggle. 

This can lead to iron deficiency anemia, making us feel super tired, especially when we try to exercise. But most of us aren’t anemic. 

However,  even before we get to anemia, just not having enough iron can mess with our ability to exercise and feel energetic. Scientists have found that people who don't have enough iron but aren't yet anemic still don't perform as well when they exercise (READ MORE). They get tired faster, and their muscles can't work as hard.

Nobody wants that. 

Interestingly. a study looked at what happens when people with low iron but not full-blown anemia get iron through an IV. These folks weren't used to much exercise, but after getting more iron, they could do more and didn't feel as tired. It was like a literal shot of energy that significantly impacted a relatively untrained group of participants. 

This tells us that iron is clearly important for keeping our energy up, especially when we're active. For many people who feel like their energy drags throughout the day, the solution might not be a third  (or fourth, or fifth) cup of coffee, but rather something as simple as more iron in your diet instead, 

Most of us know we need iron, but not everyone knows how easy it is to fall short of getting enough of such an essential nutrient. Women, in particular, need more iron than men because they lose blood every month through their periods. And if you don't eat meat, a significant source of iron, you have to be extra careful to get enough from other foods. 

There are also specific health issues that can make it harder for our bodies to take in iron from what we eat.

The key takeaway? If you're feeling wiped out and unsure why, it might be worth checking if you're getting enough iron. A simple blood test can show if you're low on iron, and if you are, eating more iron-rich foods like red meat, organ meats, seafood, legumes, leafy greens, or tufo can help. You could also go the supplement route (with the guidance of a healthcare professional, of course), but we always prefer whole foods. 

In short, iron is a big deal when it comes to feeling good and staying active. It's a tiny part of our diet but has a significant impact on our health and energy levels. Ensuring we get enough iron is a simple step to help us feel our best. So don’t shy away from red meat, and if you do, just make sure you are getting your iron from somewhere else. 


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Who Would Have Thought? Weight Loss Combined with Exercise Can Cut Heart Attack Risk for People with Type 2 Diabetes

The Simpsons Fox GIF by AniDom

A new study finds that both weight loss and physical activity is key to helping drop heart attack risk for people with type 2 diabetes.

“According to a recent study, weight loss combined with physical activity led to a 61% lower risk in heart attacks for people with type 2 diabetes when compared with individuals with type 2 diabetes with low physical activity and no weight loss. Additionally, maintaining a high level of physical activity with weight loss led to a greater reduction in risk than just losing weight alone.”

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which glucose levels build up when the body cannot react to insulin effectively or is unable to produce enough of it. Treatment for type 2 diabetes most commonly involves careful monitoring of blood sugar levels and medications like metformin or sulfonylureas, but diet, weight management, and exercise are part of a broader approach.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 38 million Americans (one in 10, on average) have diabetes, and up to 95% of them have type 2 diabetes. The condition creates a significant risk for heart disease and heart attacks.


Age Is Just A Number

Aging Come On GIF by Strays

As many say, age is just a number, but how you feel about that number could mean the difference between living the life you want to live or one bogged down by health issues.

Research has shown that you’re more likely to live longer and enjoy better health if you simply feel younger. In fact, people who embrace their age and feel good about it have been found to experience less stress, better memory, and even a lower risk of dementia. On the flip side, if you feel older, you’re more likely to be depressed and have declining health.

So, how can you tap into this fountain of youth? It all comes down to shifting your perspective on aging. Instead of dreading it, try embracing the wisdom and experience of growing older. If you think negatively about aging, you’re likely to age worse. But if you welcome it as just another chapter in your life, you’re more likely to experience positive health outcomes as the years pass.


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