For Christmas I got my dad a cast iron skillet! The reason is, because he didn’t have one and it cooks differently than other skillets. When I worked at the restaurant we had several, small and large.
Cast iron skillets are made of iron and the bonus of cooking with an iron skillet is that the iron skillet actually adds iron to the food that you are cooking. Iron is important for your body, and it plays an integral roll in the development of your brain and the maintenance of the livers detoxification system, as well as the functioning of your immune system. There are two kinds of iron, something called heme iron which is found in animal products and non-heme iron found in grains and plants.
As a woman I need about 18mg a day, but as a teenager I only needed between 8mg-15mg a day, and once I become post menopausal I will only need 8mg a day, which is the exact same daily amount that a man needs.
Dietary sources of iron come from chocolate 4.93 for one square, a good reason to keep eating your chocolate daily (dark of course, as low in sugar as possible). I go for either the 75% to the 85% cocoa chocolate as a treat when we hit the store.
Other sources are clams, oysters, pumpkin seeds, beef, raisins, oatmeal, and of course the favourite of Popeye, spinach.
We actually absorb about 10% of our dietary iron from our environment. The upper limit of safety of iron is 45mg per day. Iron is good for you because it is an antioxidant but, excessive amounts act as an oxidant. You can actually poison yourself with too much iron intake.
Things that get in the way of iron absorption are anti-acids, calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, lead, tannic acids, phytates, oxalates, and soy. As well, deficiencies occur with chronic bleeding, repeat blood donation, and people who use non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Once upon a time when I was transitioning from pre-teen to teenager, I was going through the normal changes any girl had to go through. However, the combination of hormonal panic and me being overweight lead to some not-so-normal outcomes. For starters I had horrible acne, I recall one of my friends commenting “are those pimples on your face or did you walk into a nest of spiders?” Which I would not so graciously reply “hair dye causes brain cancer blondie”. Also, I had the worst period ever. At one point I bled out for six months straight. I could fill a super tampon and pad faster than you could say “what the hell is wrong with you?” It wasn’t fun.
When I finally admitted that I had a problem, I finally went to the doctor. I was told I had to take birth control pills to stop the bleeding and I also had to take iron supplements. I was on the kind of pills pregnant women take, which were the size of my thumb.
This issue took years to solve. The moral of the story is; as a woman, iron intake is very important to consider when you are going through any kind of “bleeding.” Whether it is a normal situation like just your regular monthly or after you have had a baby or you are peri-menopausal (another time when hormones are out of whack) and bleeding can sometimes get out of control. Paying extra attention to your health at these times is extra important and, when you are feeling low, tired, and/or listless, it might be because you are iron deficient.
On the quest to lose 50 pounds in a year. Can she do it? Only time will tell....with the help of this blog.