Feel Good Nutrients

By Lisa Cantkier

“Feel good” nutrients such as iron and the B vitamins are important for good health. Iron is used in the production of hemoglobin, which is the main protein in red blood cells. Hemoglobin carries oxygen throughout the body. Our tissues, muscles, and other systems cannot function properly without iron, and the resulting oxygen supplied by hemoglobin. B vitamins are an important part of cell metabolism – the process where our cells derive energy from the food we eat, and utilize it in order to fuel our body’s processes.

When deficient in feel good nutrients such as iron and B vitamins, symptoms can be broad and may vary from person to person. The experts say, however, that in general, it is quite common for these particular deficiencies to negatively affect one’s mood, energy levels and sleep patterns.

Here are some things to consider if you suspect you may be at risk of deficiency with respect to these feel good nutrients.

• Check with your health professional to determine whether you are at risk of an iron or B vitamin deficiency. He/she may find it necessary to check and monitor your blood levels.

• Ask your health professional about the possible need for supplementation, and if necessary, find out which supplements may be best for you, given your gender, age and specific health needs.

• Consider adding these iron rich foods to your diet:

  • Artichokes
  • Beans, lentils, chick peas and soybeans
  • Dark, leafy greens such as spinach and collards
  • Dried fruit such as prunes and raisins
  • Egg yolks
  • Iron-enriched whole grain cereals and grains (ensure they are gluten-free if you are gluten intolerant)
  • Liver
  • Red meat
  • Turkey

• Consider these foods rich in vitamin B12:

  • Beef
  • Caviar
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Fish (mackerel, herring, salmon, tuna, cod, sardines and trout)
  • Lamb
  • Liver
  • Pure whey powder

• Consider these rich sources of vitamin B6 (Folate):

  • Dried herbs and spices such as chili powder, paprika and tarragon
  • Fish (tuna, salmon and cod)
  • Garlic
  • Hazelnuts
  • Liver
  • Pistachios
  • Sunflower and sesame seeds

• Consider these good sources of vitamin B3 (Niacin):

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Halibut
  • Lamb
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Turkey

• Consider these good Vitamin B2 sources (Riboflavin):

  • Almonds
  • Dried herbs, spices and peppers
  • Edamame
  • Fish (mackerel, Atlantic salmon, trout)
  • Liver
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sun-dried tomatoes

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Lisa Cantkier is a lifelong celiac, nutrition coach at Liberty Clinic and founder of GlutenFreeFind.com.

You can follow Lisa on Twitter at @LisaCantkier

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