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Spinach & Iron


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Often, we can feel like we’re having sufficient calories and getting ample rest but still, somehow feel tired and fatigued. The bike just doesn’t feel great and you can’t put your finger on why!

A common overlooked culprit is a lack of “Iron”

What is it? 

Iron is required for the formation of oxygen-carrying proteins, haemoglobin and myoglobin, and for enzymes involved in energy production. Oxygen-carrying capacity is essential for endurance exercise as well as normal function of the nervous, behavioural, and immune systems.

What does it mean?

Iron depletion (low iron stores) is one of the most prevalent nutrient deficiencies observed among athletes, especially females. Iron deficiency, with or without anaemia, can impair muscle function and limit work capacity. Iron requirements for endurance athletes, especially distance runners, are increased by approximately 70%.

It would be worth noting athletes who are vegetarian or regular blood donors should aim for an iron intake greater than their respective RDA (i.e. 18 mg for men and 8 mg for women).


A 4-6-week supplementation or focused higher intake of Iron has also seen an increase in performance in general in endurance sport. However, after reading this you shouldn’t immediately go out and get a supplement. Opting for a natural source like below or increased green vegetable intake is a good start as well as seeing your GP for a blood test if you haven’t in a while.


Using an iron supplement is an easy way to get your daily requirement of iron but you can get it naturally too through meats and offal. For the vegans out there it can be harder, however the likes of: pistacio, sunflower, cashews, grains such as quinoa, brown rice, as well as lentils, soybeans and tofu, all offer a great source of iron.

Here’s a recipe for a simple addition to the menu, likely to add 9mg of Iron to your day:

Sweet Iron Smoothie

  • 300ml Apple Juice
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 300g Spinach
  • Ice (if you like a thicker smoothie)