Anemia: Why you’re always cold

by Guest Writer

Recently I sat through an entire nine-hour workday wearing a raincoat. Was it raining? Nope.

Have you ever shaken someone’s hand and thought, “Wow, your hands are freezing.” I am that person with freezing hands. For some reason I can never get warm unless I’m exercising or outside in direct sunlight. No matter what, I’m constantly freezing.

While it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, it feels like it. I’m constantly shivering, having to bring an extra sweater even if it’s 85 degrees outside and running to the bathroom every half an hour to get tissues for my, what feels like, frostbitten nose.

While doctors have mentioned in the past that a cause of this cold could be anemia, I’ve never been diagnosed with it. Instead, when I start to feel that bone chilling cold that won’t go away, even in the midst of summer, I know my diet is lacking two things: iron and protein.

Lacking protein and iron

While I eat more than enough vegetables and fruits throughout the day (honestly, they’re my favorite foods) I have a hard time getting enough protein and iron in my diet due to the fact that I’m just not a huge fan of eating meat.

Being a vegan for three years, I ruled meat and any other animal byproducts out of my life. When I started to introduce dairy and meat back into my life, I realized I don’t have the biggest appetite for either of those things. Instead, I have to replace the protein and iron I could generally get from eating meat everyday, with protein and iron substitutes, such as leafy greens, nuts and beans.

What does protein do?

Our body uses up protein doing everyday things, so it constantly needs to be replaced. Protein helps build muscles and bones, increases immunity, forms enzymes and transports nutrients throughout our bodies.

Protein Rich Foods:

  • Lentils
  • Peanut Butter
  • Black Beans
  • Almonds
  • Quinoa
  • Tofu
  • Seitan
  • Kale/Spinach
  • Hummus
  • Avocado

What does iron do?

Iron helps transport oxygen throughout the body. It’s an important component of hemoglobin. If your body lacks iron, it can’t make enough healthy oxygen carrying red blood cells—otherwise known anemia. 

Iron Rich Foods:

  • Sweet Potato
  • Tomato Paste
  • Raisins
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • Tofu
  • Kale
  • Chocolate
  • Oatmeal
  • Dried Apricots
  • Wheat Germ

Are you cold and lethargic throughout the day? Try making a meal out of these iron and protein rich foods and observe how you feel. You could be lacking iron and protein in your diet!

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