[Tallahassee, FL] It was a normal afternoon like any other. While folding laundry, I vividly remember suddenly feeling like a 90-year-old woman living in a 35-year-old’s body. I walked into the emergency room moving at a snail’s pace and with no idea that my world would be changing forever.
It was my personal wake-up call, a powerful realization that a major life alteration would have to take place if I wanted a life full of vitality.
It was discovered that I had fibroids. These non cancerous tumors are one of the most common in the female uterine tract. According to an article in The New York Times, researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences concluded that 50% of white women between the ages of 35 to 49 had fibroids while a staggering 72% of African-American women suffered.
I was among the 72%. Those are some pretty high odds.
I have directly been impacted by this major health issue for the past four years. One of the most devastating blows came after losing half the amount of blood recommended for living due to abnormal menstruation. Upon medical evaluation I was informed by the doctor that I was at blood transfusion level.
Fortunately, a solution was readily available. I was prescribed iron supplements and was also advised to change my diet to increase the iron level in my body. This new lifestyle change would not come easy as I began to personally combat years of poor health habits. My mantra would be … “take it one day at a time.”
I immediately noticed my energy improve after exercising, making dietary adjustments and increasing my water intake. An essential component of healthy living is directly related to establishing a balanced health plan. It is not enough to merely change your eating habits. Additionally, it is important to incorporate daily exercise into your schedule.
If you desire to feel better and look better, it is crucial to begin placing health care at the top of your to do list.
Many individuals are merely existing day-in and day-out. Often as a result of poor dietary habits and health choices our vivacity begins to suffer, leaving us physically depleted. One of the most common reasons for lack of energy is Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA). The group largely impacted by IDA are women of child-bearing age, and especially those with abnormal menstrual cycles.
Research reported by Mamashealth.com shows that 20% of women, 50% of pregnant women and 3% of men suffer from IDA.
Several symptoms that may be an indication of IDA:
- Extreme fatigue & dizziness
- Loss of stamina
- Decrease in appetite
- Pica – an unnatural craving for ice, paint, dirt or starch
- Shortness of breath
- Frequently feeling cold in body
If one is experiencing IDA, “it can be easily treated successfully with dietary changes and iron supplements,” says Bettermedicine.com. Medical studies show that the recommended dietary allowance of iron for men is 11mg and women, 16 mg. In order to ensure that you are meeting the required daily dosage of iron, it is important to choose foods that are a good source of this essential mineral.
The following iron-rich foods below absorb best into the bloodstream when digested with Vitamin C:
- Turnip greens
- Red meat
- Baked potato
- Nuts: cashews, almonds
- Beans: chick peas, lima beans, black beans
- Fish: tuna fish in oil, sardines, salmon
- Dried fruit: dates, prunes, raisins
Initially, there may be an internal battle raging from within as you set out on this new course for the better. Especially if you are like – or were like – me, and didn’t take very good care of yourself. But each healthy victory will become sweeter as the days go by, and as you make the necessary changes to experience a more fervent, fantastic life.
A word of warning: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) also cautions those who have normal iron levels against taking iron supplements or eating an iron-heavy diet. So proceed with caution. As a general rule, adult men and postmenopausal women generally have normal iron levels and should, “only take iron supplements when prescribed by a physician because of their greater risk of iron overload.”
Lastly, in the words of W. H. Auden, “Health is the state about which medicine has nothing to say.”
Life is meant to be lived to the fullest! Live well, live strong, live long!
By: Kristie Kennedy/Sunshine Slate
Kristie Kennedy is a women’s empowerment speaker, professional makeup artist, jewelry designer, author and recording artist. She is also the current Ms. Tallahassee, FL, for Ms. Corporate America 2012 and 2010-2011 American Image National Pageant Queen. Her website is www.kristiekennedy.com.
Images: Chris McEniry
Resources: The New York Times, NIH iron fact sheet, Mamashealth.com, Bettermedicine.com