Are you feeling tired and don’t know why? Do you get short of breath when you exercise? Do you feel dizzy or faint from time to time? You may be anemic.
Anemia is the deficiency of red blood cells (hemoglobin) caused mostly by lack of iron in the blood. The function of red blood cells is to carry oxygen from our lungs to all parts of the body. When the blood lacks enough hemoglobin, it cannot carry the oxygen throughout the body. As a result, the heart has to work extra hard to pump the blood and deliver oxygen to your organs. This causes mental and physical fatigue.
Anemia is often caused by heavy blood loss, poor diet, or having your food microwaved all the time. Anyone can suffer from anemia but vegetarians are often at higher risk because they don’t don’t consume liver and red meat, which are the richest sources of iron.
But don’t worry. Plenty of vegetables contain iron that can help with anemia. In fact, iron needs Vitamin C to be absorbed, and since many vegetables are also rich in vitamins their iron content is more easily absorbed.
Leafy green vegetables are great sources of iron, such as spinach, mustard greens, kale, and lettuce. Beet is also a good blood builder including the beet greens. Other vegetables that contain iron include celery, radish, carrot, and parsley.
You can increase you consumption of these vegetables to add more iron to your diet, but the easiest way to get more of them is to juice them so you get the concentrated nutrients. The best sources of nutrients are organic vegetables because they have been shown to have higher vitamin and mineral content and are free from pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
When you are juicing vegetables, especially when you are starting out, it is important to mix your vegetables so that the juice you extract is not only beneficial but palatable. Pure kale juice, for example, is quite bitter, so you would want to mix it with something sweet, like carrots or apple. Mixed juices are also easier on the stomach. Pure green juices could aggravate your digestion if you are not used to them. They are also powerful detoxifying agents so you want to increase their amounts gradually.
Carrots are a good basis for all juices because they are sweet, contain a lot of vitamins, and improve the taste of any juice. Here is an iron-rich recipe from our Juiced course by LaTisha Page.
1 large beet
1/2 of the beet greens if available
1-inch (2.5 cm) piece fresh ginger (optional)