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One of my family members tested for anemia, and I wanted to post on this as it’s one of the most common nutritional deficiencies.  I’ve had it myself.  Some symptoms of anemia include fatigue and loss of energy, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, headache, inability to concentrate, weakness, and pale skin.

Iron is a mineral that helps you get enough oxygen to your body.  You can increase your iron intake by eating plant-based iron rich foods like dark leafy greens like spinach, legumes like lentils, brussel sprouts, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, dark chocolate (organic, fair-trade, 70% or more cacao), whole grains, and nuts.  Check out this article that lists more healthy iron-rich foods here.

Another way to increase absorption of iron is by eating small amounts of it throughout the day vs. all at once.  You can also increase absorption by food-combining a high iron food with a food that’s high in Vitamin C.  Vitamin C helps the body better absorb dietary iron.  Foods that are high in Vitamin C include bell peppers, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, tomatoes, and citrus.  Some ideas for iron food pairing include spinach & mandarin orange salad, hummus with citrus and brown rice crackers, roasted cauliflower with kale, red lentils and brown basmati rice with broccoli, greens and beans with tomato sauce, or carrot and lentil soup.

Here’s a super easy Iron-rich recipe that is one of my favorites.

Easy Italian Greens & Beans

Ingredients

1 organic onion

3-5 cloves organic garlic

1 TBSP organic , cold-pressed olive oil

2 cans of organic cannellini beans (Eden is a good choice that uses BPA free cans)

1 can of organic tomato sauce (your choice)

2 bunches of organic spinach (you can use the whole container of pre-washed, organic in the plastic container, but be SURE to rewash it before using it)

Organic Italian Seasoning

Crushed Red Pepper

Instructions

Wash the spinach really well with a white vinegar/water wash and place in a large strainer to drain.

Rinse and drain the cannellini beans.

Chop the onion and garlic and add to a large soup or pasta pot with the olive oil and cook on low.

Once the garlic and onion become translucent, add the cannellini beans and fresh spinach.

Add the jar of tomato sauce on top.

Add Italian Seasoning and crushed red pepper to taste.

Simmer on low-medium for 30-40 minutes, stirring on occasion.  Another option would be to throw all of this into a slow cooker for 5 hours making sure to oil the inside of the pot with olive oil first.

Serve alone or with a whole grain of your choice.

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