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The Lucky Iron Fish
I found the Lucky Iron Fish about a year ago. I am always looking for ways to improve health naturally (minimizing long term supplements) even when my diet isn't perfect. Iron is one minerals I have struggled to keep in adequate levels without supplementation. This mineral is necessary for all humans but essential in larger amounts in growing children and women of childbearing age.
I took prenatal vitamins for several years but am working hard to improve my diet and try more natural supplements when possible since I am not currently pregnant. I tried cast iron pans but no matter what I did I found food sticking and pans rusting. I probably didn't do what I should have, although I read all about their care and really tried hard. I finally got fed up and gave them away.
Then I discovered the Lucky Iron Fish: a cast iron fish you boil in water and then drink the water to obtain a small amount of iron.
How does the Lucky Iron Fish work?
Place the fish in a pot of about 1 liter of water and 2 -3 drop citrus (eg. lemon or lime juice) and boil for about 10 minutes. The citrus is a good source of vitamin C which aids in iron absorption where as coffee and tea hinder iron absorption. The water then contains about 2 - 7 mg of iron. There is some variance for cooking time and water acidity. Iron is absorbed in small quantities over time so it's best to use the Lucky Iron Fish regularly. Data on the company website revealed positive changes in users with regular use after 3 - 6 months. Each fish lasts about 5 years so it is well worth the money (about $25)!
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA's) of iron varies by gender, age and stage in the reproductive cycle for adult women from 7 mg - 27 mg per day. Iron is provided in the diet with "heme"iron, a more absorbable form, found in meat, poultry and seafood, and "non-heme" iron found in plants such as legumes, grains, and greens.
Iron in supplements ranges from around 18 mg in a multivitamin and mineral for women up to 65 mg in a purely iron tablet.
The Lucky Iron Fish is effective with long term use and a lower dose of iron. This means fewer (usually no) side effects common with pharmaceutical iron supplementation (eg. gastrointestinal issues like constipation).
I also love that the company uses proceeds from purchased fish to donate fish to communities in need.
Getting Enough Iron
I always recommend aiming for dietary sources of nutrients when possible because it is very difficult to reach toxic levels when eating food. I think the Lucky Iron Fish falls into this safer "food" category. Here are other foods to include in your diet for adequate iron intake:
Dietary sources of iron:
- Beef, poultry, pork, seafood
- Dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, chard, beet/collard/turnip greens, romaine lettuce)
- Lentils and beans
- Whole grains (including ancient grains) and fortified grains and cereals
- Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, flax)
- Nuts (Pine nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, pistachios)
- Dried raisins and apricots
Good sources of vitamin C to help absorb iron:
- Citrus (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, tangerine)
- Kiwi, mango, papaya, pineapple, strawberries
- Bell peppers
- Brussels sprouts
RD side note: the Lucky Iron Fish (or any iron supplements) typically should not be used in individuals with hemochromatosis or in infants less than 6 months old. Please consult your physician.
Have you tried the Lucky Iron Fish or any similar products to more naturally get nutrients? Let me know in the comments below, I am always looking for new ideas.
Don't forget that health happens at home,
Want to learn more? Here are a few additional websites: