Is Your Body Getting Enough Iron

Our body needs iron. It helps to transport oxygen from the lungs to cells throughout the body. We need this oxygen supply to give us energy and to help every single function in our body. If your iron intake is too low, you may be more prone to fatigue or a lowered immune system. While you can boost your immune system naturally, as I’ve written about before, iron intake is still something you need to consider.

 

Iron is a highly important part of every diet, especially for women. We have a much higher need for iron in our diet due to the loss of blood during our period. A diet low in iron, or even some health conditions, can lead to an iron deficiency, or anaemia.

 

Eat foods rich in iron

Firstly, it’s important to note there are two types of iron: haem and non-haem. Haem iron is found in animal proteins, such as beef, lamb, poultry and liver. Non-haem iron is found in eggs and plant-based foods, such as green leafy vegetables, wholegrain breads and iron-fortified cereals or breads.

Other iron-containing foods include dried beans and lentils, oats, dried apricots, nuts and seeds.

 

Eat foods that help your body absorb iron

Some food and drink can help the body absorb iron, like foods containing vitamin C. That means adding citrus fruits, berries, tomato, capsicum and green vegetables to your diet; for example, you can add slices of orange to a spinach salad.

For vegans and vegetarians, this is particularly important as the majority of your intake will be non-haem iron, which is not absorbed by the body as easily. Try eating iron-fortified cereal with added berries to increase absorption.

In some cases, cooking can also increase the amount of iron available in vegetables. For example, your body absorbs only a low amount of iron from raw broccoli, in comparison to an amount five times higher from broccoli that has been cooked.

 

Avoid iron inhibitors

Just as there are foods that can help your body absorb iron, there are those that can do the opposite! These are known as iron inhibitors and some of the common ones are fibre, calcium and tannins. BUT that doesn’t mean you should cut these from your diet. Just be mindful of when you eat them — for example, try to avoid having a cup of tea or coffee when you have your meals.

Iron is one of the essential nutrients needed by our bodies (along with these essential vitamins and minerals). Following these tips can help naturally increase the intake of iron in our diet, so be sure to eat those green vegetables and vitamin-C rich foods.

 

Wherever you are in the world, have a lovely day ❤

A, x (1)

On The Verge Of Burnout?

If you’ve ever felt really stressed, you know how draining it can be. Maybe you were under pressure at home or at work and felt overwhelmed for a few days, or even a few weeks. That feeling of chronic stress and having no energy can be your body’s way of signalling you need to slow down. When you notice things taking a toll on you physically, mentally and emotionally, it can be a sign you might be heading for burnout.

 

I want to explain a couple of burnout warning signs to watch out for, so you can take steps to get back on track.

 

Digestion problems

You might have heard the saying that the stomach is like a second brain. There’s a really good reason for this! An unhappy digestive system can be a clue that you need to take a look at your current lifestyle. Stress and overload on your body can not just lead to that icky, heart-racing feeling. It can cause problems like reflux and nausea too. When this happens for longer periods of time, it can also upset the balance in your gut.

You can also try using different types of herbal tea, such as peppermint or chamomile tea, which can help soothe an upset stomach in the short term.

 

Complete exhaustion

I’m sure you’ve had a day where you got home and felt like collapsing from exhaustion. While you might have felt better after a sleep, those on the edge of burnout tend to feel severe exhaustion that is hard to shake off. It could be feeling really worn-out after a workout that you could do easily a month ago. Maybe you feel SO tired, but you’re not able to sleep when you actually get into bed. Other signals, such as choosing not to go out with your friends because the idea of getting dressed up and going out feels overwhelming, could be a sign that something bigger is going on.

 

Lowered immunity

Stress can contribute to poor immune function, leaving you more susceptible to catching a cold or some other illness that is going around. Likewise, if you have a bruise that just won’t seem to go away, it might be a sign that your body is so busy trying to manage your stress level, it may not have the resources to repair itself.

 

Problems focusing on tasks

Are you finding it hard to concentrate, or to stay focused on tasks you are trying to finish? It might be a sign that you are mentally drained, and you need to slow down. Making space in your schedule for a timeout can help you feel calmer and less stressed.

The same goes for your memory. Are you struggling to remember things, or keep forgetting to do simple tasks that are part of your routine? This can be due to the stress hormone, cortisol. Chronic overexposure to cortisol may reduce your ability to form memories, or to store new ones. While it’s easy to laugh things off and chalk them up to forgetfulness, sometimes it is part of a bigger problem.

 

Experiencing conflict

Now you feel tired, your stomach is churning and you are frustrated because even though you have a lot to do, you can’t seem to remember simple things. It’s hardly surprising that you might be a bit short-tempered! That can lead to conflict — arguments with your partner, being short with your colleagues or snapping at your friends.

When you’re on the brink of burnout, it can be a little bit hard on your relationships. You probably have less patience, which means you might feel irritated more easily. Maybe you’re withdrawing emotionally because you feel mentally exhausted and don’t want to socialise with anyone. Whatever you’re feeling, your friends and family won’t know unless you talk to them about it.

Burnout usually happens after an extended period of stress, when life has been so demanding, it’s hard to keep up. Pushing aside your own health to keep up with studies, with work or with family responsibilities can happen without you even realising it. If you have noticed any of these warning signs, it is time to reassess your priorities and your schedule.

Take care of yourselves.
Wherever you are in the world, have a lovely day ❤

A, x (1)

 

De-stress Before Bed

Do you wish you could wake up feeling more refreshed? It can be as simple as making some changes to your routine before bed! Try these tips to wind down and get into bed ready to sleep soundly!

 

Get ready for tomorrow

Start by writing down any important tasks you need to do tomorrow or getting your clothes ready for the next day. Writing little reminders to yourself and preparing things the night before reduces the chance that you’ll be lying in bed thinking about them!

 

STRETCH!

A few minutes spent stretching and focusing on your breathing can help to increase the flow of blood to your muscles, which can help with your body’s recovery. Stretching can be good for reducing some of the tension that builds up naturally during the day.

 

Have a cup of tea

When you’re trying to prepare your body for sleep, it might be a good idea to skip the coffee (or alcohol, if you drink it) and have a cup of tea instead. Remember that coffee is a stimulant, so it can actually make you feel more awake. Coffee is more than just a warm drink, there are lots of other ways coffee affects your body. If you like to have a warm drink in the evening, try a calming herbal tea such as chamomile or passion fruit.

 

Get comfortable

Who doesn’t love getting into their pyjamas? Once you put them on, don’t you just feel so much more comfortable and at ease? You want to be as comfy as possible when you’re trying to sleep, so put on something that won’t make you feel too hot, and that isn’t going to get tangled up if you roll over at night!

 

Do your nightly skincare routine

I always moisturise my skin when I’m getting ready for bed, I love skin care so it feels pretty relaxing for me! The nice smells of your skin care products can also have a calming effect, which can help before bed.

 

Quiet your mind

How you do this is totally up to you, but something I can’t recommend enough is putting down your electronics! As I’ve written about before, technology can actually affect your ability to fall asleep by keeping your brain active. Try some light meditation or spend some time reading instead.

 

I’m sure we would all be happy to fall asleep easier, am I right? Taking time to wind down can make it much easier to get a better sleep and wake up feeling happier.

 

Wherever you are in the world, have a lovely day ❤

A, x (1)

Foods To Avoid When You Are Stressed

When you’re feeling stressed, it can be all too easy to be consumed by projects, deadlines or life in general. Sometimes eating becomes an afterthought, something you do when you have a few minutes spare. The problem with this is some foods can actually make you feel worse when you’re already under pressure.

 

There are some foods you shouldn’t eat if you’re stressed, which I’m going to talk about below.

 

Foods high in sugar

Such as: Pastries, donuts, ice-cream, sugary cereals, chocolate bars.

While it might feel like you get a burst of energy from foods high in sugar, it’s usually followed by a slump. This is caused by your blood sugar dropping dramatically, and it often leads to you feeling tired and grumpy. If you are already stressed out, a sugar crash can make you feel even worse. Not to mention that refined sugar can lead to a rise in cortisol (stress hormone), making you feel worse and leaving you prone to poor immune function or weight gain.

Instead: Try a few squares of dark chocolate, or even dark chocolate-covered almonds. Dark chocolate has antioxidants, known for their relaxing properties, as well as magnesium, which can help you to fight fatigue. Blueberries are another good choice because they are rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants to help reduce stress.

 

Foods that are highly processed

Such as: Cookies, chips, packaged meals.

When life is crazy-busy, it can be hard to resist the lure of a packaged meal that you just heat and eat. Yes, you will have something in your stomach. BUT — processed foods are usually full of refined sugar, preservatives, salt and fat. You would basically be feeding your body empty calories, as well as excess saturated fat. That can leave you feeling bloated, tired and uncomfortable. If you are already stressed, you might have noticed your digestive system already isn’t performing as well as it normally does. It’s best not to put it under more strain.

Instead: While packaged meals might seem like a good option, you need to nourish your body. Something like grilled salmon or this quick buddha bowl recipe is fantastic because it has kale, brown rice and chickpeas. Kale can help your body fight fatigue, while the chickpeas and brown rice are gentle on your stomach. Plus there’s turmeric in the dressing, which may help calm inflammation in your gut.

 

Foods that are high in salt

Such as: Fried foods, potato chips, pizza.

Sodium, aka salt, can make your body retain fluid, which can cause your heart to work harder and your blood pressure to increase. Not to mention you tend to feel bloated and uncomfortable. The problem with eating foods that are high in salt is these side effects may also decrease your energy. On top of this, too much salt can deplete your potassium stores, which affects your nervous system. And salty foods can make you feel thirsty, a sign of the early stages of dehydration, which can also leave you feeling tired and irritable.

Instead: Try eating sweet potato fries, avocado on toast or some almonds. Sweet potato has potassium, which can help with bloating and has positive effects on your nervous system. Avocado and almonds have magnesium, which can help to fight fatigue and headaches.

 

If you’re stuck in a bit of a stress loop, try not to forget your diet! Reaching for the right foods can help to balance your nervous system and your stomach, which can make a noticeable difference to how you feel. Eating well is part of the solution when it comes to reducing stress, and exercise can also play its part.

 

Wherever you are in the world, have a lovely day ❤

A, x (1)