An active female athlete involved in a rigorous training program has an increased risk for iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency is common with or without anemia.
- Decreases performance for the athlete
- Often is not detected on a standard blood test.
- The capacity to transport oxygen to the cells of the muscle via myoglobin is impaired
- Energy production is limited [vital for competition]
- Male athletes may also be at an increased risk for iron deficiency
- Vegetarian athletes
- Athletes should eat meals or snacks that contain adequate quantities of iron-rich foods and, in some cases, see a physician for a recommended iron supplement.
Foods rich in iron include:
- Red meat
- Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach
- Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots
- Iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas