Have you had your iron levels checked? Women especially need to be careful to ensure their diet contains sufficient levels, as deficiency can be dangerous.
What Does Iron Do?
As part of hemoglobin, iron plays an important role in the transport of oxygen around the body from the lungs to the other organs. It is also part of the process to produce new blood cells within the body and helps to remove carbon dioxide from the organs.
As well as these important functions, it helps to convert blood sugar to energy and is essential for the production of enzymes within the digestive system. Iron also plays an important role in the immune system and the recovery process after illness or strenuous exercise.
Food Sources of Iron
Most red meats are very good sources of iron particularly beef and lamb. However, the best meat to boost your supply is liver. A 100g serving of liver will provide over 100% of your recommended daily amount of the important dietary nutrient.
Mollusks are another great source of iron, with even higher concentrations than liver. You have a choice of several tasty mollusks, including:
Animals are not the only good sources of iron. Plenty of dark leafy vegetables contain good quantities of this important element. Spinach is the best, with 100g providing 20% of your daily value. Swiss chard, turnip greens and kale are other vegetables that can help to boost your iron levels.
Another source that is easy to overlook is dark chocolate. Nuts and pumpkin seeds are also great sources of iron, and make tasty snacks. You can use these to beat your chocolate cravings!
Problems Associated with Iron Intake
One of the main symptoms of iron deficiency is anaemia. This occurs when the stores of iron in the body deplete and it is no longer possible to maintain haemoglobin levels in the blood. This particularly affects children and pre-menopausal women. The common symptoms of anaemia include:
- Hair loss
In extreme cases, deficiency can be fatal so it is important to ensure you consume sufficient quantities of this essential nutrient. Usually though, an increase in iron intake will restore your iron levels to normal.
Iron overdose is also potentially fatal, and often the first symptoms are stomach ulcers, followed by nausea and vomiting. The pain can then abate before the iron passes into the internal organs, particularly the brain and liver.
Iron is an extremely important nutrient that plays an important role within your body. Avoid the risk of anaemia and deficiency by making sure you eat plenty of the great iron-rich foods. This will keep your body in top shape and you will certainly feel better for it.
Have you ever had your levels checked? How were they?