Iron and your health

Vitamins and minerals play an important role in maintaining good health. Iron is no exception. The World Health Organization warns that 80% of the world’s population suffers from iron deficiency. If you are part of the other 20% – keep it up. But if you are part of the majority – this article is for you.

Iron is part of every cell in the body and plays a huge role in building a strong immune system. The body does not produce iron, but absorbs it through the small intestine. Iron is the basic and most important element of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the body.

Iron deficiency in children causes stunted growth and behavioral problems. Pregnant women who are iron deficient have a higher risk of premature birth and low birth weight.

Iron deficiency is more common in women than in men. Over a period of 30 days, women lose more iron than men.

The most common symptoms of iron deficiency are:
-Weakness and fatigue;
-Dizziness or fainting;
-Hair loss;
-Decreased concentration;
-Brittle nails.
Whether a person suffers from iron deficiency can be determined by testing his blood.

Anyone can find themselves in a situation of iron deficiency, but some are more prone to it than others.
Women. Due to blood loss during menstruation and pregnancy, women lose more iron than any other group.

Vegetarians. Iron found in animal products, red meat, liver and eggs is more easily absorbed by the body than iron found in foods of plant origin. This makes it harder for vegetarians to get their recommended daily allowance of iron.

People with diseases of the digestive system. In this group the absorption of iron is slower and therefore they have a hard time receiving the recommended daily needs for iron.

How much iron should be consumed? The answer to that question depends on the organism itself. Most iron should be taken during the growing season, ie. in children and adolescents. Pregnant women and women with heavy periods should also get more iron.

The recommended daily needs of iron are:
-Children (1-10 years) – 7 to 10mg
-Women (19 years and older) – 18mg
-Men (19 years and older) – 8mg
-Pregnant women – 27mg
-Breastfeeding women – 9 to 10mg

It contains the most iron: pork liver, beef kidneys, red meat, fish, flour, nuts, beans and egg yolk. Spinach, buckwheat, strawberries, kiwi, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, tomatoes are also rich in iron.

When consuming foods rich in iron, avoid tea, coffee, milk and soy, as they prevent the absorption of iron.

Calcium also inhibits absorption. Therefore, if you take extra mineral out of the diet, avoid the iron-calcium combination.

If you consume only iron of plant origin, try to include something that contains a lot of vitamin C with that food.

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