Iron Deficiency
By Dejah Sibblies, Grade 9

Do you ever have the feeling when you're going about your day and you suddenly feel tired? After you finish eating snacks, do you feel like you don't want to do anything and you don't have any energy? Well, it could mean you're not eating the right foods that give your body the energy that it needs to maintain itself. It could also mean you're iron deficient.

Iron is a mineral in your body that gives your blood oxygen so that your body can function properly.  When lacking in iron, your body functions tend to slow down, and your mind tends to stop thinking properly.  When adults don't have enough iron, it interferes with their ability to do physical work, but when teens lack iron it can affect their memory. Symptoms of iron deficiency are feeling tired and weak, decreased work and school performance, slow social development during childhood, difficulty maintaining body temperature, decreased immune function (which leads to infection and an inflamed tongue).

This may sound crazy, and you may be asking yourself, "How in the world will I be able to find something to treat this need?" Well, it's quite simple. First, eat healthy foods high in iron such as spinach, soybeans, white beans, watercress, lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, and blackstrap molasses. But those are just to name a few.  For all you meat eaters, red meats such as lamb and beef will help increase your iron level. But remember everything in moderation is best; too much of anything is not good for you. And remember too much iron causes constipation so make sure you add your fiber in there, too. Here's a recipe that helps me eat spinach:

Spinach with Pasta  (1 serving)                                
1 cup of dried pasta  (whole grain for all you health fanatics)
1 medium tomato                    
1-2 garlic cloves sliced
3/4 cup spinach
A few basil leaves
2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Garlic and onion powder to taste
While the noodles are boiling, sauté tomatoes and garlic in the vegetable oil. Add seasonings to sauté and then spinach. Turn down the stove, and toss in basil leaves when sauté is complete.  Remove from the stove and add drained pasta. Fold pasta into sauté. And enjoy!

Image by Dejah Anderson

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