Iron helps to transport oxygen to our cells. When an individual is low in iron they may experience extreme fatigue, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, sensitivity to cold, heart palpitations and brain fog. Statistics from the World Health Organization show that 24.8% of people are iron deficient- the highest prevalence is in preschool-age children.
B12 is a necessary water soluble vitamin needed to make red blood cells, nerves and DNA. When an individual is low in B12 they can experience tingling in the extremities, fatigue, and iron deficiency anemia.
Where can you get iron and B12 naturally?
One of the BEST sources of both iron and B12 is animal meat like red meat and liver. The iron from animal sources is called heme iron and it is the form most optimally absorbed by the body (compared to the non- heme iron, which comes from dark leafy greens)
Kathy Smart has a delicious recipe that is is naturally high in both heme iron and B12.
Hearty Cabbage Roll Soup Recipe
Cabbage rolls are typically really labor-intensive. If you like cabbage rolls without all the extra fuss and prep, this will be your new go-to recipe:
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon of butter/olive oil
- 2 large onions, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound of Farm 2 Fork brand grass-fed ground beef
- 1-28 ounces can of diced tomatoes
- 1 large can of tomato juice
- 2 cups of chicken broth
- 4-6 cups of shredded green cabbage
- 1/2 cup of long-grain brown rice
- 3 Tablespoons of finely chopped dill
- 1/2 teaspoon of caraway seeds, sea salt, and
- Additional dill for garnish
- In a large pot, heat the butter/olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onions until soft. Add the garlic and celery and cook until soft.
- Add the ground beef, breaking it up with a spoon. Cook until no longer pink. Drain off any excess fat.
- Stir in the tomatoes, tomato juice, and broth. Bring to a simmer and add cabbage, dill, caraway seeds, rice, sea salt, and pepper. Cook until the cabbage and rice become tender. If the mixture becomes too thick, add a bit of water.
- Season soup with sea salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with a dollop of sour cream and dill for a garnish.
Easy to Make, Gluten-Free, Low Glycemic, No Added Refind Sugars
If your MD has recommended supplementing your natural intake to combat both B12 and iron deficiency, here are a few smart tips on how to supplement properly.
If you are low in iron…this is what you need to know.
- Iron is best taken in liquid form, on an empty stomach and with a bit of vitamin C.
- Iron SUPPLEMENTS are hard on the stomach, often causing stomach distress and you absorb very little of it. Even if the supplement says that it has 300 mg- you will only absorb maybe 10% of that. So really it is just 30 mg you are getting of iron if you are lucky with a lot of constipation and stomach irritation.
- Take your iron in a LIQUID form and add it in a bit of orange juice first thing in the am and avoid caffeine for 1-2 hours.
- B12 needs to be taken in a sublingual form (this is a form that is melted underneath the tongue).
- B12 needs to be in the usable form called Methylcobalamin.
- If you buy a cheap B12 it is usually in the form called cyanocobalamin- chances are you aren’t able to absorb this and will not benefit at all.
- Take your B12 supplement in the morning at 1,000mcg per day. Why? B12 will give you a shot of energy and you don’t want to be up all night!
- Many times a B12 or an iron deficiency will mask each other. So, if you are low in iron and taking iron supplements, ask your MD to check your B12 levels to ensure that it is not the root cause!
With over 20 years experience in the health and wellness sectors, Kathy Smart has achieved many personal goals along with helping thousands to live their healthiest self. Some of her achievements include:
- Canadian Holistic Nutritionist of the Year
- Canadian Fitness Presenter of the Year
- Holistic Teaching Chef