Exhausted? We Might Know Why...

acneIllustrated by Zhang Qingyun.
Do you find yourself running low on energy, even when you've logged a restful eight hours of shuteye? Do you get that deep-in-your-bones fatigue just from your daily activities? Do you just feel generally droopy at times? If you just can't seem to perk up, it might not be your lifestyle: You could be one of the many women suffering from iron deficiency.
Advertisement
Iron deficiency is actually the number one nutritional deficiency in the world — and iron is absolutely essential for energy levels. Iron is involved in hemoglobin production, the part of the red blood cell that transports oxygen to all your cells. Without the proper iron levels, your red blood cells can't carry that all-important oxygen to where your body needs it. It's like loading up a pickup truck with only half the materials it can hold — you'll run out of stuff much quicker.
One slightly graphic way to gauge whether you might be suffering from an iron deficiency is to use the "Tampon Test" — don't worry, it's nothing gross. If you find that you need to change your tampon every two hours, then your period might be heavy enough to be depleting your iron levels. Beyond all the hormonal fluctuations that we ladies already experience at that time of the month, low iron levels are another sneaky culprit that can make us feel subpar.
Though you'll need a blood test to properly determine your iron levels, if you've been feeling extra-tired for more than a month, look paler than usual, and have dry or brittle nails, then you might want to get checked out. Especially since reversing the effects can often be as supplementing your diet with delicious iron-rich foods like steak...or kale.
For the meat-eaters among us, animal protein is actually the best source of iron out there: Eat chicken livers, beef, lean chicken. Unfortunately for vegetarians, the type of iron found in beans and vegetables isn't absorbed as readily by our bodies. But, eating lots of leafy green veggies, dried fruits, and beans will help boost your levels.
One good trick to remember: Eating food rich in vitamin C alongside iron-rich foods can increase your body's absorption of iron. Also, weirdly, simmering sauces and sautéing veggies in a cast-iron skillet can triple the amount of iron in your food — it just gets absorbed right into the liquid.
Advertisement
A good rule of thumb is that women need 18 milligrams of iron per day to stay healthy. So, keep that in mind and then head over to PopSugar to see the exact number of milligrams of iron in all your favorite foods. (PopSugar)

More from Wellness

In a move so fitting that we can’t believe we haven’t seen it already, ASOS teamed up with running shoe company Saucony to create glitter running ...
Ragazzi mi state seguendo in tanti e vorrei ringraziarvi e scusarmi se non riesco a rispondere a tutti...vi proprio ho una foto che mi ricorda tutte ...
A version of this story originally appeared on Shape. When it comes to female pleasure, there's enough misinformation out there to fill a book. One of ...
When it comes to rock climbing, an all-or-nothing approach is key
What a week it’s been, stargazers. First, we were told our Zodiac signs have changed, that there's now a 13th sign, and that apparently everything we ...
No one goes through life trying to be a horrible person. But sometimes, it's a challenge to go that extra mile (or even just a few steps) out of your way...
Living with anxiety can feel like a constant battle. You have to stay alert to catch anxiety creeping up on you, and it can turn into an all-day fight to ...
(Paid Content) In this age of label-aversion, hookup apps, and social-media flirtation (nothing says romance like a DM, right?), few would disagree that ...
If you ask us, no workout is complete without a killer playlist — and running is no exception. Whether you prefer the trails or the treadmill, the right ...
This article was originally published on December 18, 2015. According to stereotypes, men are the sexually voracious cheaters and women are the ...
We're great fans of accessorizing in the bedroom. Au naturel stimulation is wonderful, but sex toys can do things that people just can't. The sex toy ...
You probably already know that Donald Trump has a record of making sexist comments. But a new ad from Hillary Clinton's campaign powerfully highlights ...
Update: Kopp's original Facebook post has been removed, and, as Shape reports, the chances of contracting an infection so severe that draining is ...
Even as the sex toy market continues to expand, there remain a few vital "firsts" for the industry to tackle. This week, with the arrival of the Buck-Off...