We all know that our body requires sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals for normal functioning of vital organ and to maintain an overall healthy and fit body. And one of the most important essential minerals that human bodies require is iron.
Why is iron crucial for our health?
Iron is the most important constituent of red blood cells as it plays a crucial role in energy metabolism, gene regulation, cell growt
h and differentiation, oxygen binding and transport, muscle oxygen use and storage, enzyme reactions, neurotransmitter synthesis and protein synthesis.
But most crucially, adequate quantity of iron is necessary to make hemoglobin which is an important constituent in the red blood cells, responsible for transport of oxygen. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body's tissues, giving energy and skin a healthy color. Lack in hemoglobin can lessen the oxygen binding ability of each hemoglobin molecule, resulting in anemia. Our body contains between 3.5 and 4.5 g of iron, most of which is present in hemoglobin while the rest is stored in the liver, spleen and bone-marrow.
Iron deficiency? It could lead to health complications…
is one of the most common nutritional disorders caused due to low iron intake or insufficient absorption of iron in the body. The main cause is that iron quantities in our body get depleted which hinders the synthesis of hemoglobin. And as hemoglobin is responsible for smooth supply of oxygen in the body, iron deficiency can result in decreased oxygen supply to organs and tissues.
Generally people who suffer from iron deficiency anemia show some common symptoms such as tiredness, lack of stamina, lessened appetite, dullness & pallor, recurring headaches, problems with sleep, increased risk of infections due to lessened immunity and even problems with brain functions.
Ensure adequate iron absorption, avoid iron deficiency
To prevent iron deficiency anemia, iron absorption in the body is vital. Lets see what measures can be taken to ensure sufficient iron absorption.
- Include iron rich foods, high in vitamin C, in the regular diet
- Reduce considerably or even omit sugar consumption
- Avoid using any antacids as they interfere with iron absorption
- Coffee and black tea should also be avoided as they contain polyphenols and tannin which interfere with iron absorption
- Skipping meals and irregular dietary habits should be discouraged
· Iron Rich foods
Iron rich foods can help avoid iron deficiency. A wide variety of foods are excellent sources of iron. In fact it has been established that red meat is the richest source of iron. According to research the iron from animal sources can be more easily absorbed by our body than the one from plant sources.
Iron in meat
- Other organ meats
- Legumes, such as lima beans and green peas;
- Dry beans and peas, such as pinto beans, black-eyed peas, and canned baked beans
Recommended daily intake
RNI for Iron mg/day
0 to 3 months
4 to 6 months
7 to 12 months
1 to 3 yrs
4 to 6 yrs
7 to 10 yrs
Men 11 - 18 yrs
Men 19 + yrs
Women 11 - 49 yrs
Women 50 + yrs
In women of child-bearing age, loss of iron from menstruation of blood adds considerably to iron need. Around 10% of women of child-bearing age will need more iron than is indicated. Extra iron is also required during pregnancy and breast feeding.
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