The body needs its proper amounts of vitamins and minerals, and among them is the iron. Iron is of great importance for the health of the body, but this mineral is very often deficient in many people. It is present in many foods, but it is difficultly absorbed into the body. The human digestive system has difficulties to extract it from the taken foods, and as well as to store it.
Here it is what Paul Thomas, EdD, RD, a scientific consultant to the National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements, says about the importance of iron:“The major reason we need it is that it helps to transport oxygen throughout the body.”
The human hemoglobin needs highly iron which is accountable for the transport of oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. If the body does not receive its needed oxygen then there would be no healthy red blood cells. In addition to this, Thomas adds:
“If you’re not getting sufficient oxygen in the body, you’re going to become fatigued. “
This is not a normal fatigue, but it influences the immune system and the function of the brain. During pregnancy, many ladies experience severe iron deficiency which increases the baby’s risk of being born too early, or smaller than normal.
The daily intake of iron for pregnant women should be 20mgso that there is a healthy development of the fetus.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that around 10% of women are deficient in this mineral. In fact, the most common nutritional deficiency in the U.S. is iron deficiency.
The Recommended Daily Intake – RDI of Iron
For men is 8 mg
For adolescents and women is 9 mg
Women need to compensate for the lost amounts due tothe menstruation period. When the menstrual cycles cease which happens during the menopause the need for this mineral is less, and then women need it as same as men, 8 mg a day.
For toddlers and infants, in the age range of 4-8 is 10mg, and in the age range of 9-13 is 8 mg
Toddlers and infants need higher amounts of iron because of their proper growth and development. Boys and girls need the same daily amount of iron when they are children; there is no difference in amount.
Early signs of Iron Deficiency
Lack of iron can lead to anemia and the common symptoms include:
Poor infections resistance
Have in mind that the excessive levels of iron in the body can also be harmful, and this conditionis known as hemochromatosis.
Another expert, Elaine Chottiner, MD, clinical assistant professor and director of General Hematology Clinics at the University Of Michigan Medical Center, maintains the following:
“Iron is also necessary to maintain healthy cells, skin, hair, and nails.”
Reasons for Iron Deficiency:
Low iron bioavailability of iron due to excessive consumption of tea or calcium supplement
High blood loss while menstruation or childbirth
Poorly balanced vegetarian diet
Pregnancy, breastfeeding and growth(periods when this mineral is highly needed)
Low iron absorption as a result of intestinal disorders, gluten intolerance, or inflammatory bowel disease
Red meat and crustaceans are a great source of iron, but also there are the vegetables that are packed with iron. So, if you are a vegetarian, then for sure you need to balance these veggies into your diet. Likewise, if you suffer from anemia, make sure to include them into your daily diet:
Veggies High in Iron
This green vegetable is the richest source of iron, plus it is low in calories and high in antioxidants and vitamin A.
In 100 g of broccoli there is 1 mg of iron, 6% of the RDI. In addition to this, it will provide your body with vitamin C, 168% of the RDI. Vitamin C is very important for iron absorption in the body. This vegetable is high in fiber, folates, and vitamin K.
In 100 g of kale there is 1.5mg of iron. This is a super healthy veggie as it exceeds the RDI of many vitamins. It contains 512% vitamin A and 200% vitamin C of the RDI. Additionally, it is a great source of fiber which prevents the occurrence of constipation; then in vitamin K, which keeps the good health of our bones. Plus, it reduces cholesterol, and slows down the passage of glucose into the blood.
In 100 g of lentils there is 3.3 mg of iron, and they are packed with magnesium, fiber and vitamin B.
In 100 g of beet there is 1.8mg of iron, and it is packed with valuable minerals like magnesium, betanin, and calcium. Its consumption will promote healthy function of the liver, and on the other hand the high folic acid levels will aid the assimilation of carbs.
Mung bean or mung bean
It is extremely high in iron, namely in 100 g there is 1.8 milligrams. Plus, it is loaded with potassium, copper, and zinc. According to many studies the regular consumption of legumes can regulate blood sugar levels, promote weight loss, and reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
In 100 g of pumpkin seeds there is 3.3 mg of iron. They containhigh amounts of vitamins A, E, F and B group vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. Further on, they have in their content all the essential amino acids and they are high in fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
A serving of 30 g of dark chocolate offers 3.2 mg of iron, 18% of the RDI. Moreover, it is rich in copper and magnesium, and likewise in prebiotic fiber, which is beneficial for the friendly bacteria in the intestines. Dark chocolate lowers the risk of strokes and heart attacks and reduces cholesterol levels. As per many researchers cocoa powder and dark chocolate are more powerful antioxidants than blueberries juice and acai berries.
Nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, figs and dates provide about 2.4g – 3mg of iron. These food ingredients offer the feeling of satiety and thus promote weight loss. Plus, their consumption will enhance your energy levels.
In 126 g of tofu there is 3.6 mg of iron, 19% of the RDI. This soy-based food is abundant with calcium, magnesium, thiamine, and selenium. Plus, it contains isoflavones that decrease the risk of heart diseases, and as well as treat insulin sensitivity and menopausal symptoms.
Have in mind that the proper absorption of these food products is very important although they are all very rich in iron. For instance, calcium prevents the proper absorption of iron. Therefore, you should increase the consumption of foods high in vitamin C such as all citrus fruits – lemons, oranges, tangerine, and kiwi.