Published: 07/31/2018 - Updated: 03/08/2020
Author: Dra. Loredana Lunadei, PhD
Iron is an absolutely essential mineral for the body, well known for its countless properties and benefits necessary for preventing primarily anemia, creating energy and strength in the body. For women, it is necessary to pay special attention to iron consumption during pregnancy, and at any other time in their lives, due to blood loss incurred with every menstrual cycle.
Primary benefits of dietary iron
- Plays an important role in proper breathing function
- Combines with proteins to form hemoglobin (red blood pigment), which transports oxygen to tissues.
- The majority of remaining iron accumulates in the liver, spleen, and bones.
- Necessary to activate group B vitamins.
- Stimulates immunity and physical resistance.
- Prevents anemia.
When iron is lacking in the diet
Proper iron consumption around the world is extremely important. Only a small portion the the iron consumed makes it to the blood stream. Iron deficiency can manifest with the following symptoms:
- Anemia: You might realize that you are prone to anemia if you notice symptoms like paleness in the skin and mucous membranes, fatigue, frequent sadness, lethargy, tachycardia palpitations, lip sores, dry of gaunt-looking skin, brittle hair, frequent illnesses, or gastrointestinal problems. Anemia can also be caused by a deficiency in copper, zinc, nickel, cobalt, or vitamin B6 and B12 deficiency.
- Frequent depression or lethargy could also indicate low iron levels.
- We should also note that iron deficiencies affect child behavior and learning.
- Iron deficiency can also cause deficient protein synthesis, deficient immune system, an increase in lactic acid, and cardiopulmonary diseases.
- You may notice an increased sensitivity to stress, along with decreased productivity and poor temperature regulation if you lack iron.
Important sources of iron
- Iron can be found in animal products as well as vegetable products. Seaweeds take first place in foods with iron content, especially Dulse, Hiziki, and Spirulina seaweeds.
- Brewer’s yeast (which is also a source of vitamin B12 and folic acid).
- Dried fruits and seeds: figs, almonds, cashews, coconut, peanuts, blueberries, apples, plums, grapes, peaches, etc., and sunflower seeds.
- Grains like Real Quinoa, contain some of the highest amounts of iron.
- Egg yolks.
- Legumes: red beans, garbanzos, soy beans, lentils, lupines, and peas.
- Beets and alfalfa sprouts are excellent sources of iron.
- Animal products
In order to improve iron absorption of non-animal products, we recommend consuming foods with vitamin C at the same time.
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