Nearly one in five women is deficient in iron. “Iron is essential for building muscle, repairing damaged tissues and producing cellular energy,” explains Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., author of From Fatigued to Fantastic. “Women with low iron stores can struggle along for years feeling tired and weak, yet their iron levels haven’t dipped low enough to affect their red blood cell count, so standard blood tests can completely miss the underlying problem!”
Common Tip-Off: Weakness
Rx: Pair meat with citrus. The iron in animal products -- such as beef, pork, poultry, eggs and fish -- is absorbed twice as effectively as the type found in plant foods, say UCLA researchers. And pairing iron-rich meals with 1/2 cup of something acidic -- like citrus, berries, tomatoes, or cruciferous veggies -- can boost your absorption an additional 33 percent. All-told, just enjoying four to six ounces of meat products daily (with an acidic side dish) can cut your fatigue in half within three months, say researchers at Connecticut’s University of Bridgeport.