Iron Deficiency and How Watercress Can Help

B&W Distinctive baby leaves that make a difference

Iron – Are you getting enough: 

We’re not talking about pumping iron but about consuming iron. And our watercress and baby arugula are full of it!

Iron is an essential mineral for every living organism. Because your body requires iron to produce hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that facilitates the cells to carry oxygen through your blood vessels. If your body doesn’t have adequate hemoglobin, your muscles and tissues won’t receive enough oxygen to work effectively. Low iron can lead to a condition known as anemia

Although there are different types of anemia, iron deficiency anemia is the most widespread type worldwide. Some signs you might be iron deficient include:

Extreme fatigue – Hemoglobin assists in carrying oxygen throughout your body, and a lack of this means less oxygen reaches your muscles and tissues, thus, depriving them of energy and resulting in fatigue. Your heart must also work harder to move more oxygen-rich blood around your body.

Pale skin – Pale skin, as well as the pale coloring of the inside of the eyelids, are other frequent symptoms of low iron. The hemoglobin in red blood cells gives blood its dark color, so deficient iron levels cause lighter blood and paler skin. This can be one of the first things doctors look for as a sign of iron deficiency.

Dry, damaged hair and brittle nails – When skin and hair are denied oxygen, they can become dry and weak. Nails may become fragile and easily damaged by everyday activities. It’s normal for some hair to fall out during brushing and washing. However, if you’re losing large clumps, it may be related to low iron.

Shortness of breath and fast heartbeat – Because oxygen levels are insufficient when hemoglobin levels are low, your muscles won’t receive adequate oxygen for everyday activities, like walking. As a result, your breathing rate will rise as your body attempts to get more oxygen.

Cold hands and feet – Your hands and feet are the furthest from your heart, which means oxygen has the furthest to travel. When you’re iron deficient, less oxygen is delivered to your hands and feet, making some people feel the cold more efficiently or experience cold hands and feet.

Restless legs – This condition involves a strong urge to move your legs while resting. It can also cause unpleasant crawling or itching sensations in your feet and legs.

Unusual cravings – People have been known to crave non-nutrient substances like ice, clay, dirt, or starch when experiencing a lack of iron. One theory to explain this is that soil and clays contain the mineral iron. Thus, in circumstances of significant iron deficiency, the body attempts to obtain the needed iron from these sources.

Do you experience any of these? Always talk with your doctor first, but incorporating watercress or baby arugula into your diet can help with your daily iron intake!

Risk factors:

These groups of individuals have a higher risk for iron deficiency and anemia:

Women. Since women lose blood during menstruation, they are at higher risk of iron deficiency.

Infants and children. Infants, specifically those with low birth weight or born prematurely, who don’t get sufficient iron from formula or breast milk could be at risk of low iron. Children need additional iron during growth spurts. In addition, if your child isn’t eating a healthy, diverse diet, they can be at risk of anemia.

Vegetarians. Those who don’t eat meat can have a greater risk of iron deficiency if they don’t eat other iron-rich foods, like watercress.

Frequent blood donors. People who regularly give blood may have a higher risk of iron deficiency anemia since blood donation can deplete iron stores. However, low hemoglobin related to blood donation may be a temporary issue remedied by consuming more iron-rich foods. If you’re told you can’t give blood because of low hemoglobin, ask your physician if you should be concerned.

Highly Soluble Iron

Vegetables typically are not the best source of iron. Vegetables that do contain iron also tend to be full of substances that inhibit iron. So you may not absorb a considerable amount of iron from the vegetables. This is where watercress sets itself apart from the other leafy greens and other vegetables.

Watercress is the most nutrient-dense food on the planet. It’s the only food to receive a perfect score from the CDC and ANDI. With over 50 essential nutrients, this superfood offers a distinct advantage in taste, quality, and nutrition.

Watercress contains 43 mg of Vitamin C, or 72% of the DRD. Because Vitamin C is an essential part of iron absorption, this distinctive baby leaf is extremely helpful in boosting iron absorption in the body. Vitamin C stimulates the absorption of iron, especially non-heme iron, which is difficult to absorb without the help of Vitamin C.

Extra tips to increase iron absorption include drinking black tea with your watercress and consuming other foods high in Vitamin C.

History Lesson:
Did you know that watercress is commonly known for its aphrodisiac effects? The ancient Romans and Persians used watercress as an aphrodisiac, so their libido would significantly increase after consuming it. In addition, watercress is known for its efficacy in increasing the production of sexual hormones like testosterone, mainly because of its high zinc and iron content.

Try our Chef Ming’s Beef and Watercress Recipe for a healthy dose of iron today.

B&W Quality Growers is the world’s largest grower of distinctive baby leaves®, including watercress, arugula, and spinach. With over 150 years of experience with these SuperLeaves®, we remain true to our legacy of superior nutrition, flavor, quality, and sustainability.

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Author: Ruth Bozeman has over 20 years in the marketing and health and fitness industries with a proven track record of trust and innovation.

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