Iron is mineral our body needs on a daily basis. It has many different functions in the human body and for that reason we need about half to one teaspoon of iron every day.
This important mineral is crucial for many enzymes and proteins in human organism, such as hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is present in red blood cells and without it, there would be no transport of oxygen or carbon hydroxide to and from various organs in the body. Iron is also found to be necessary for antioxidant enzymes, for the growth development of human organism and also for all healing processes that take place in the body. Another important role of iron is its protective function, since it provides immunity to the body.
Lack of iron is also known as iron deficiency and it can cause anemia to people of all age, especially to children under 5 years of age and babies.
Symptoms of anemia include: tiredness and fatigue, lack of appetite, headaches, irregular heartbeat and breathing problems after some physical activities. Children can develop more slowly than normal if they lack iron in their diet and this is especially affecting their brain and motor functions. In adults, lack of iron is usually seen as brittle or deformed nails and susceptibility to different infections.
Women are also found out to be more prone to iron deficiency and anemia because of menstruation or pregnancy. Vegans who don’t eat sufficient amount of food rich in iron are also likely to develop iron deficiency. Surgery can also cause anemia in some of the patients, as well as Crohn’s or Celiac diseases.
Which Food is Rich in Iron?
Food rich in iron can be animal (also known as heme) or plant based (non-heme) source of iron.
Animal sources of iron are meats and seafood and the iron present in these foods can be easily absorbed in the body. So, if you want to increase your daily dose of iron, eat more red meat, liver and kidneys because these are rich in iron. Other meats also contain iron, but slightly less than red meat. Eating seafood is also especially good for anyone looking for iron rich food. The best choices are shrimps, salmon, oysters, clams, scallops and octopus.
Non-heme food contains iron which is not so easily and readily absorbed in the human body, so you will need some vitamin C to aid this process. However, fruits and vegetables are great sources of iron and you should eat plenty of: oranges, kiwi, strawberries, grapefruits and cantaloupe, as well as leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, asparagus, peppers, parsley and various beans.
Apricots, raisins, prunes, dates and figs are known to contain plenty of iron, as well as different nuts, hard boiled eggs and tofu. There is also some iron fortified breakfast cereals, noodles and bran flakes you can choose to increase your daily intake of iron.