At the end of the summer, I found out that my iron was quite low. I told my doctor that I was about to go to school for nutrition, and that I would like to try to remedy the low iron myself, rather than going straight for pills. I did a little research, and then thought I just couldn’t eat enough food to get my levels up…so I bought the mainstream pills. They did not agree with my system. I had a very unhappy digestive system the day I tried an iron pill, and promptly tossed the rest of the bottle. After that, more detailed research followed. I realized that the mainstream pills are the least gentle of 5 different types of supplements, and the other supplements can get pretty pricey.
Diet and cast iron were the next step. You’ve probably heard about the bad chemicals that come off when you use a teflon pan. Well, the same can be said when your pan is made from something good: a cooking in a cast iron pan can actually help increase your iron intake.
In the months since then, we’ve cooked a lot using the cast iron, at least 2-3 times a week, possibly more, and we’ve focused on dark leafy greens, probably 5 days a week. I probably have spinach almost every day of the week or more (I throw it under any hot dish and then it wilts), or collard green, kale…anything. I also have high quality red meat once a week. And I keep the cost down on the meat by actually having a deck of cards portion, which is all you need. I’m happy to say that my levels have gone from 28 to 46. The goal is to get it up to 80.
Depending on the nutrient and your current health conditions, you may or may not need to supplement. Also, think about absorption: iron absorption is helped by vitamin C. All those dark leafy greens come with vitamin C built in! Nature is clever like that.
Here are some recipes that will help you get your iron: