5 healthy drinks to improve energy levels

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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Consuming iron is one thing, but is your body absorbing it well? Try these healthy and delicious drinks and improve your energy levels!

We live in the prettiest houses, wear the most stylish clothes, and work at some of the best companies. At the outset, our lives seem perfect but guess what? There are a lot of health issues also brewing inside our bodies. Some because of our unhealthy lifestyles, while others due to environmental conditions. A condition that has become rather common is anemia, which is caused due to the lack of iron in the body. This leads to a decrease in the number of red blood cells, which are essential to carry oxygen to all the vital organs of our body.

In case you suffer from iron deficiency, you will suffer from extreme tiredness, lack of stamina, hair loss, pale skin, giddiness, poor appetite, and or shortness of breath.

What’s more, according to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)–IV (2015-16), the prevalence of anemia among women aged 15 to 49 years is 53% and among adolescent girls aged 15-19 years is 54%. So, what can we really do?

Our expert, Parul Malhotra Bahl, Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator, and Founder at Diet Expression, says, “While the percentage is quite concerning, by being aware of the symptoms, getting tests for proper and timely diagnosis and by being a little mindful of consuming certain food combinations, we can totally tackle anemia.”

But before we suggest certain drinks, it’s important to understand that there are certain foods that help your body absorb iron from iron-rich foods.

Let’s find out about these drinks, recommended by Bahl:

Have them as mid-meal beverages or first thing in the morning!

1. Beet and orange smoothie

Beet is loaded with iron, magnesium, phosphorus, B vitamins as well as vitamin C.

Here’s how to prepare it:

  • Blend in 1 peeled orange, 1/2 cup beet, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1 apple, and 1/2 a cup of water.
  • Add a little lemon juice if you wish it to be tangier.
Iron deficency
Drinking beet and an orange smoothie can cure iron deficiency. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Spinach and pineapple smoothie

Green vegetables are a great source of iron, potassium, vitamins K and B, and antioxidants. Lemon, pineapple and orange will add the required vitamin C to enhance the iron absorption from the drink.

Here’s how to prepare it:

  • Blend in 2 cups of fresh spinach leaves, one peeled orange, 1/2 cup pineapple, and half teaspoon lemon juice.
  • Top up the smoothie with 1 teaspoon sesame seeds to add some more iron and a little crunch.

3. Amla and moringa juice

Amla or Indian gooseberries are loaded with vitamin C, while moringa leaves are packed with iron and other minerals. This is an ideal drink to enhance iron absorption in the body.

Here’s how to prepare it:

Mix 1 teaspoon fresh amla and moringa leaves juice in a glass of water, and have it first thing in the morning.

4. Apple, strawberry and prune (dried plums) smoothie

Dried prunes are rich in iron, vitamin K, B vitamins, potassium and fibre. Apples and strawberries will also help to add to the iron content, while orange is packed with vitamin C.

Here’s how to prepare it:

Blend in 7-8 prunes with one chopped apple, strawberries (1 cup frozen) and 1 peeled orange to get yet another iron-rich drink.

5. Pomegranate and date smoothie

Pomegranates are rich in iron, folate, vitamins B, C, and A. On the other hand, dates are yet another rich source of iron, fibre, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants etc.

Here’s how to prepare it:

Blend in 1 cup pomegranate seeds, 1 cup frozen berries, 1/2 cup coconut milk (unsweetened), 1/2 frozen banana and 6 dates to get a delicious iron-rich smoothie.

Iron deficiency
Limit your coffee and tea intake to minimize your risk of iron deficiency. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

But there are some foods that must be avoided since they hinder iron absorption:

  1. “Tannins from tea and caffeine from coffee inhibit the absorption of iron from iron-rich foods. Thus, avoid drinking tea or coffee along with any main meal or iron-rich snack/drink,” says Bahl.
  2. Too much calcium can interfere in the absorption of iron from iron-rich foods. So, avoid combining dairy products with iron-rich foods.
  3. “To improve your absorption of iron, eat iron-rich foods along with a good source of vitamin C, such as orange, pineapple, mousmi, amla, lemon, broccoli, or strawberries,” says Bahl.
  4. Also, you can eat non-heme iron foods (plant sources like beans, dark leafy greens, beets, moringa leaves, nuts, sesame seeds, etc) combined with heme-iron foods (animal sources like meat, fish, and poultry).

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