Iron as a mineral in the body it is essential for the proper functioning of hemoglobin (a protein essential for the circulation of oxygen in the blood).
All the cells in the body contain iron content but red blood cells have maximum iron content. RBCs are responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the organs and the tissues throughout the body.
Iron in the body also contributes towards the transmission of the nerve impulse- the signals that coordinate directions of a different part of the body.
Deficiency of iron in a body leads to anemia that can cause heart palpitations, pale skin, breathlessness, and fatigue. However, excessive consumption of iron supplements can lead to a risk of liver cancer and diabetes.
Benefits of Iron
Iron helps to perform many vital functions in the body inclusive of focus retention, boosting energy level, gastrointestinal processes, enhancing the immune system and regulating the body temperature
1) Iron for Pregnancy
During pregnancy blood, volume and RBC production increases drastically so that ample Oxygen and nutrient can be supplied to the growing fetus. This increases the demand for iron in the body. Insufficient iron intake thereafter leads to iron deficiency which increases the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, impaired cognitive or behavioral development in the child, etc.
2) Better Athletic Performance
The active lifestyle of athletics leads to iron deficiency, especially among young female athletes. Low hemoglobin in athletes can greatly affect their performance as physical exertion decreases the body’s ability to transport oxygen to the muscles. Iron supplements help to cope up with the endurance.
Regular to gym people require high iron content as they need more red blood cells to carry oxygen to keeps them exercising.
3) Eases Menstruation
Menstruation depletes iron stores the female body that increases the risk factor for anemia. Taking iron supplements copes for iron deficiency particularly if the flow is heavy or prolonged.
4) Increases Concentration
Research shows that cognitive level and attentiveness drop with iron deficiency in the body. Restoring the level improves concentration and increases cognitive performance.
5) Restore Sleep
According to research, iron therapy is beneficial for treating sleep issues including restlessness, sleep apnea, and insomnia.
6) Reduce Bruising
Low iron level is responsible for early bruising because hemoglobin level affects the production and function of platelets which control blood clotting. Iron supplements help ease the frequent bruising condition.
Healthy Foods Rich in Iron
These are a list of good foods which will help you meet your daily iron needs through your diet:
With various health benefits, spinach is very low in calories and a very good source of iron. Although the iron is non-heme (is not absorbed very well) it renders v vitamin C content to the body that boosts iron absorption.
Spinach is rich in antioxidant for carotenoids reduce your risk of cancer; protect your eyes from diseases and decreases inflammation. Spinach with other leafy greens with fat content helps the body absorb the carotenoids.
All shellfish are high in iron particularly clams, oysters and mussels. Shellfish contain heme iron, which is absorbed easily in the body.
Legumes are a very rich source of nutrients including iron and most common being beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, and soya beans. For vegetarians, these sources provide rich iron content. To increase iron intake recommendations for beans such as Black beans, Navy beans, and kidney beans are made. To maximize iron absorption in the body, one should consume legumes with food rich in vitamin C such as tomatoes, greens and citrus fruits.
4) Liver and Organ Meats
Organ meats are a good source of iron and various other nutrients such as selenium, vitamin A and choline. Most popular organ means include liver, kidney, brain, and heart which all are rich in iron content, especially liver which is also high in vitamin A.
5) Pumpkin Seeds
With nutty flavor, these portable snacks are a rich source of iron, vitamin k, zinc, magnesium, and manganese.
6) Red Meat
Red meat besides being full feeling is very nutritious. Ground beef contains iron, proteins, zinc, selenium, and several B vitamins.
According to researches people who eat meat, poultry and fish regularly often do not face iron deficiency. Red meat is the most accessible source of heme iron.
Quinoa, also known as a pseudocereal, provides various nutrients like iron, protein, folate, magnesium, manganese, copper, etc. Quinoa does not contain gluten and has antioxidant properties.
Enriched with vitamin C, broccoli helps to absorb iron better in the body. It is also rich in folate, fiber handsome vitamin k.
9) Dark Chocolates
Cocoa powder and dark chocolates have more antioxidant activity and are rich in copper and magnesium besides iron. These contain free biotic fiber which nourishes the gut-friendly bacteria.
Made from soya beans, tofu is a rich source of iron, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, selenium, and protein among vegetarians.
It is also rich in a unique compound for isoflavones which improves insulin sensitivity and decreases the risk of heart issues and relieves menopausal symptoms.
Fish is a very nutritious food item especially tuna which is highly rich in iron content.
Enriched with Omega 3 fatty acids, fish is greatly beneficial for heart health. Additionally, it enhances immune function and supports healthy growth and development through various nutrients like niacin, selenium and vitamin B12.
Other than tuna, haddock, mackerel, and sardines are iron-rich fish.
As the human body cannot produce iron of its own, it is very essential to consume food enriched with iron content. To boost your iron absorption include sources of vitamin C in your food by eating plant sources of iron.