Fitness Kelowna

Iron

Iron

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Training

 

Iron is an essential nutrient to include in a healthy balanced diet as it has many functions including growth and development and plays a critical role in transferring oxygen around the body. Iron also helps in energy production, muscle function, DNA synthesis and the immune system. It’s most important role is to prevent anaemia. We get most of the iron we need from food, our body carefully monitors its levels of iron; absorbing more when demand is high and less when stores are adequate. Iron is stored primarily in the bone marrow and liver.

Red blood cells need iron to make haemoglobin, the substance that helps them carry oxygen around the body, from the lungs to the body’s tissues and carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs. Haemoglobin production falls if insufficient iron is available and with less haemoglobin inside them red blood cells can no longer carry as much oxygen, and so delivery to the cells is reduced, causing the typical effects of tiredness and fatigue.

Increased development of the brain is also one of the many benefits of iron. Since oxygen supply in the blood is aided by it and the brain uses approximately 20% of the blood oxygen, iron is directly related to brain health and its functions. Proper flow of blood in the brain can stimulate cognitive activity and help to create new neural pathways to prevent cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, so proper iron intake and its subsequent brain oxygenation is essential.

Iron is a vital element for muscle health. It is present in the muscle tissues and helps to provide the supply of oxygen required for contraction of muscles. Without it, muscles lose their tone and elasticity; muscle weakness is one of the most obvious signs of anaemia.

Iron also plays a key role in providing strength to the immune system of the human body. Thus, the body is made proficient enough to fight against a number of diseases and infections. Red blood cells are necessary for providing oxygen to damaged tissues, organs, and cells. Without it, there would be no haemoglobin; without haemoglobin, there would be no oxygen. The healing process needs iron to happen!

Iron, when consumed in sufficient amounts, can help focus concentration and energy, which will boost cognitive and mental performance. Increased flow of blood to the brain due to iron’s red blood cell activity is what results in this important benefit.

There are two forms of iron. One being haem iron which is found in animal products and is the most efficiently absorbed form of iron and not affected by other dietary components, but the other non-haem iron is found in plant foods and the body finds this more difficult to absorb.

Vitamin C helps the absorption of iron and when vitamin C rich foods are combined with foods rich in iron, absorption of the iron is substantially increased. Even a glass of fruit juice with your meal can aid with iron absorption.

The substance called tannin that is found in tea is also thought to inhibit the absorption of iron.

Foods high in phytates and oxalates, such as raw bran, whole meal flour, spinach, nuts, chocolate, parsley and rhubarb may also have a negative impact on iron absorption.

Dairy products like yogurt, cheese and milk as well as eggs interfere with iron absorption – that’s because casein from milk and certain forms of calcium inhibit iron absorption.

Good sources of iron in food include:

  • Liver
  • Lean red meat
  • Oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, tuna
  • Eggs especially yolks
  • Fortified cereals
  • Peas and beans, e.g. Chickpeas, lentils, baked beans
  • Dried apricots, prunes, raisins
  • Brown rice and whole grains
  • Soybeans
  • Leafy green vegetables, e.g. spinach, watercress and curl kale
  • Almonds, Brazil nuts

Your personal trainer can help to advise on healthy diet foods to adequately provide you with the iron your body needs to function efficiently.

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today for your free consultation

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Personal Trainer Kelowna eggs

Amazing Eggs

Amazing Eggs

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Leigh Carter

Private Gym Training

 

They say ‘good things come in small packages’, well this can certainly be said of eggs. They are packed with nutritional goodness and provide an excellent source of protein, because of the superior amino acid mix, an egg’s six grams of protein are absorbed easily and efficiently used by the body.

Eggs are also a good source of:

  • Vitamin D – one of the few natural sources and essential for teeth and bones
  • Vitamin A – which plays an important part in boosting the immune system
  • Iron – important for a good immune system and healthy blood supply
  • Vitamin B2 – important for growth, skin, nails, hair, sensitive lips and tongue, eyesight,
    the breakdown of protein, fat and carbohydrates and help the body to absorb the iron
  • Vitamin B12 – making red blood cells and keeping the nervous system healthy
  • Iodine – helps make thyroid hormones

Eggs also contain a high level of essential omega-3 fatty acids, an essential nutrient and good for your heart. As they contain all 9 of the essential amino acids they could be considered the perfect food.

Historically, eggs have been considered unhealthy because they contain cholesterol. A large egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol, which is a lot compared to most other foods. However, it has been shown in many studies that eggs and dietary cholesterol do not adversely affect cholesterol levels in the blood.

Eggs are particularly rich in the two antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which help prevent eye diseases, especially cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. While eggs contain less lutein and zeaxanthin than greens, they are more absorbable from eggs because of the presence of fat in the yolk.

Choline is needed for brain development in a growing foetus and may also be important for brain function in adults and one egg contains 20% of the daily recommended intake of choline.

One large egg contains 77 calories with 5 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein with all 9 essential amino acids.

Eggs are incredibly fulfilling scoring inducing feelings of fullness and therefore could reduce your subsequent calorie intake.

In one study of 30 overweight women, eating eggs instead of bagels for breakfast increased feelings of fullness and made them automatically eat fewer calories for the next 36 hours. In another study, replacing a bagel breakfast with an egg breakfast caused significant weight loss over a period of 8 weeks.

In fact eggs have become the ultimate convenience food. Nutritionally good for you, they can be regularly enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced diet and so many delicious ways to eat them.

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today for your free consultation

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Personal Trainer Kelowna

Anthocyanins

Anthocyanins

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Training

 

What are anthocyanins? It is a plant compound that acts as an effective antioxidant within the human body. These are beneficial plant pigments that gives many fruits and berries a blue, red or dark purple colouring and is found in a wide assortment of healthy foods.

So do we need to eat lots of these foods? While studies are ongoing, it’s too early to say conclusively whether anthocyanins deserve the recent media headlines that label purple foods as ‘superfoods’. But previous research has linked anthocyanins to a wide variety of health claims, including increased longevity, cardiovascular health, cancer prevention and dementia so hopefully you will benefit health wise from a diet including these purple foods.

Anthocyanins are found in high concentrations in blackcurrants, blackberries and blueberries, as well as in aubergine (in the skin), red cabbage, cranberries and cherries.

Purple sweet potatoes are commonly eaten on the Japanese island of Okinawa, which is home to an exceptionally healthy elderly population – with a large number over the age of 100, and rates of dementia reported to be up to 50% lower than in the West. Although some scientists think that the large quantities of purple sweet potato in their diet plays a key role in keeping their bodies and brains healthy well into old age, it is impossible to say that the Okinawan’s longevity is down to this one food alone as there have not been enough studies researching the health benefits of these potatoes.

Beetroot’s deep purple colour comes from plant chemicals called betalains which like anthocyanins, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These betalains can also be found in the stems of chard and rhubarb but it’s the flesh and skin of beetroots which are especially rich in them.  Beetroot is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, iron, manganese and potassium. One study has found that consuming beetroot juice was linked with lower blood pressure. Another study suggested that a diet that includes beetroot juice may increase blood flow to the brain, which some have interpreted to mean it may help prevent or improve dementia.

Blueberries which have a high anthocynanin content are also high in vitamin C, which helps protect cells and aids the absorption of iron, and contain soluble fibre, which is beneficial to the digestive system. A study in the European Journal of Nutrition found that a supplement containing dried blueberry powder improved brain power in children aged 7 to 10. Research has also suggested that consuming a blueberry supplement may be effective in improving or delaying short-term memory loss in rats. However as the existing studies into how blueberries might prevent cancer or improve memory have so far relied on small sample groups or animals, and it is not yet clear whether these findings will translate to larger groups of the human population.

Pomegranate is a good source of fibre, and also provides vitamins A, C and E, iron, and other antioxidants such as tannins.

There is evidence to suggest that the antioxidants in pomegranates also benefit your heart in a number of ways, including lowering systolic blood pressure, slowing, and even reversing, the growth of plaque formation in arteries.

The antioxidants in pomegranates may also help to reduce inflammation that contributes to the destruction of cartilage in your joints, a key reason for the pain and stiffness felt by many osteoarthritis sufferers. One study found that pomegranate helped to strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis in mice through decreased inflammation and oxidative stress.

Just a spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries, but with less sugar and more fibre and vitamin E which has been known to fight ageing and combat heart issues.

There’s no doubt that naturally purple-coloured fruit and vegetables are an excellent addition to a varied diet, but it’s also important to remember that balance is key and include a rainbow of different colours of fruits and vegetables for optimum health benefits.

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today for your free consultation

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