December 28


How Eating Iron-Rich Foods and Resistance Training Helps Control Your Glucose Readings

By Gabriela

December 28, 2020

Our body requires iron in order to encourage excellent diabetes control and maintain a healthy system! Iron is a magnetic, silver-gray, strong metal whose atomic number in the chemical element list is 26.

Furthermore, it’s a component of our everyday tools including cast iron skillets, exercise machines, and dumbbells, and is naturally found in the food.

Our body and muscles require both types of iron pumping if they’re going to remain healthy and strong. Resistance training with resistance exercise equipment like dumbbells, help us build our muscles (a lean body mass).

Hence, the more muscles we have the better the insulin circulation is (a hormone responsible for blood sugar regulation in the body). Insulin resistance which is a clear indicator of type 2 diabetes, is directly affected by the ratio of lean body mass to abdominal fat.

Luckily, insulin resistance can be decreased or even extinguished by pumping iron (resistance training), thus improving overall diabetes management.

Do You Even Pump?

Resistance training involves all major muscle groups and should be done at least 2-3 times per week. To optimize the recovery of your muscles, take a day off between each resistance training session.

However, most people are lacking iron in their blood because they don’t pump it often enough.

Nutrition Iron Deficiency

Over 1 billion people worldwide, are also lacking the other iron that comes from the food we eat. Ultimately, nutrition metal boosts the utilization of energy inside the body.

Iron, as an element of hemoglobin, is accountable for conveying oxygen in the blood. While iron as an element of myoglobin, on the other hand, acts as an oxygen agent for muscle contraction availability.

Diabetics Deficiency of Nutrient Iron

‘Hemoglobin A1c’ is the name for the main laboratory test that measures blood glucose control. If an individual becomes anemic due to the lack of iron, his red blood cells become less available.

This results in nether hemoglobin A1c values, which in turn gives an incorrect indication of security that our blood sugar control is better than it appears.

Recommended Values of Nutrient Iron

The recommended value for daily iron intake varies accordingly:

Gender Age Range Iron Requirement (mg/day)
Males 9-13






Females 9-13








Pregnancy (all ages)


Lactation (>19 years)


Nutrient Iron Absorption Influential Factors

♦ Type of Iron

○ Heme Iron:

  • Found in animal-derived foods only – meats, fish, shellfish, poultry;
  • The body absorbs about 25%.

○ Non-heme Iron

  • Found in both animal and plant-derived foods;
  • The body only absorbs about 10%.

♦ Factors that boost non-heme iron absorption:

  • Vitamin C in oranges, tomatoes, and other citrus fruits;
  • Hydrochloric acid in the stomach;
  • All kinds of sugars;
  • Both lactic and citric acids from foods;
  • MFP factor is found in meats, poultry, and fish.

♦ Factors that restrain iron absorption:

  • Fibers and phytates – in vegetables and grains;
  • Oxalates – found in spinach;
  • Phosphorus and calcium – found in milk and dairy products;
  • Tannic acid and other polyphenols – found in coffee and tea;
  • EDTA – a food additive.

 Iron-rich Foods to Implement in Our Diet:

  • Lean meats: pork, lamb, beef;
  • Organ meat – beef liver;
  • Fish and shellfish – shrimps, clams, tuna, salmon, oysters;
  • Poultry – turkey, and chicken;
  • Soy and tofu-based meat alternatives such as veggie burgers;
  • Legumes and beans – lentils, garbanzo, navy, pinto, soy, black, kidney;
  • Dried fruits – apricots, prunes, dates, raisins;
  • Vegetables – Potatoes, peas, broccoli, parsley, asparagus, brussels sprouts;
  • Greens – collard, mustard, kale, spinach, and turnip greens;
  • Egg yolks, nuts, and blackstrap molasses;
  • Iron-fortified whole grains – rice, pasta, tortillas, bread, cereals.

An All-Round Combination

Foods like whole grains that are rich in iron, hold the non-heme type of iron, which is less bioavailable.

Moreover, some of those foods also hold other factors that can further restrain the absorption of iron. Take spinach, for example, a non-heme source of iron that holds oxalates.

In addition, if you combine non-heme iron foods with iron-absorption boosters like oranges or tomatoes we will enhance the bioavailability of iron. Bear in mind that cooking in an iron skillet significantly enhances the iron content of your cuisine.

Between resistance training and a balanced diet, ‘pumping iron’ to enhance your diabetes control is an economical and smart method to manage diabetes and avert both types of iron deficiency!

Source NDTV


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

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