If you’re a fitness freak, then it’s essential that you take care and make sure you’re getting enough iron in your diet to get through the intense activities like exercise, says nutrition consultant Kavita Devgan
Iron deficiency is a widespread nutritional deficiency around the world. If left untreated, it can lead to symptoms such as fatigue and anemia. These symptoms, along with several other health conditions, can significantly impact a person’s ability to exercise regularly, further negatively impacting the body.
But that is not everything! Participating in endurance or intense exercise can also lead to the loss of iron from the body due to heavy sweating. In addition, this essential mineral plays a vital role in helping the body metabolize carbohydrates, which serve as the primary source of fuel for our muscles during high-intensity activities. So it becomes clear that the more exercise one does, the greater the iron requirement becomes. That is why people who exercise should pay extra attention to their iron intake.
The importance of this factor applies to everyone, but it is especially important for women in their childbearing years. Therefore, it is essential for them to take extra care and ensure that they are getting enough iron through their diet. A recently published article in the Journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise highlighted the high prevalence of iron deficiency in endurance athletes, especially female runners. Studies reviewed in this article seem to indicate that iron depletion was higher in female than male athletes. These findings underline the increased vulnerability of women in this regard.
Some symptoms to watch out for
Common symptoms of anemia include fatigue, shortness of breath, headache, poor memory, and trouble sleeping. Vegetarian women may experience difficulties with iron supply, but they can overcome this by including lentils, soybeans, nuts, fruits (bananas, apples, pomegranates), dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, drumstick leaves), dried apricots, peaches, prunes, raisins, and vitamin C rich foods in their diet to ensure proper iron absorption.
To easily and effectively address iron deficiency, iron-fortified salt options can be considered that provide a significant portion of the daily iron requirement. Consuming iron-rich foods such as spinach, lean meats, legumes and fortified grains is also important. This comprehensive approach is particularly crucial for combating iron deficiency, which affects many women and children in India.
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