Le FER et son importance dans nos performances

FER and its importance in our performance

Iron and its importance during our training,

Iron is a micronutrient that helps transport oxygen and facilitates chemical reactions inside our cells. Its place in the diet is therefore essential, particularly in athletes whose muscles use a large amount of oxygen to effectively fulfill their roles. Athletes should optimize their iron intake to meet their needs. Indeed, the production of red blood cells during intense workouts increases iron needs since they are composed, among other things, of this nutrient. In addition, certain situations specific to endurance sports training increase iron loss:

- Significant sweating;

- Gastrointestinal bleeding that may be caused by high-intensity exercise or frequent use of anti-inflammatories;

- Repeated shocks on hard surfaces such as during running, causing the breakage of red blood cells.

Iron deficiency, even without anemia, can impair muscle work and compromise recovery and performance.

While the total amount of iron ingested by vegetarians and vegans is similar to that of omnivores, the problem lies rather with its rate of absorption. Indeed, we find iron in two forms: heme iron and non-heme iron. The heme iron found in meat, poultry and seafood is better absorbed than the non-heme iron found in plant foods such as legumes and some fortified grain products. To ensure that you absorb enough iron, it is therefore suggested to increase the recommended intake by 80%. Thus, men and women should aim for an intake of 14 and 33 mg per day, respectively. After menopause, the recommended intakes for women are the same as men, ie 14 mg per day.

Iron deficiency is no more common in vegans than in omnivores. However, sport is an important risk factor for anemia!

In addition, various factors influence the absorption of iron in the intestine. On the one hand, vitamin C, which we find in several fruits and vegetables, promotes the absorption of iron. On the other hand, there are molecules that reduce its absorption, such as the tannins that we find in coffee and tea as well as the phytates, which we find in particular in legumes and whole grains.

Here are three recommendations to implement: 1. Consume iron-rich vegetables such as lentils, white or red beans, spinach, edamame and tofu every day. 2. Be sure to consume a source of vitamin C with every meal. 3. Avoid tea and coffee with meals and take them at least 1 hour before or after meals.