Iron is a very important trace mineral that is found in every single living cell in our body. It is the main source of two main kinds of proteins essential for our body; haemoglobin and myoglobin.
The main function of iron is to carry oxygen throughout the body and to make red blood cells. Haemoglobin forms a part of red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen to the different tissues of the body and myoglobin forms a part of the muscle cells that hold oxygen.
Quite clearly, no human being can afford to have a severe iron deficiency.
However, paradoxically, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention iron deficiency is one of the most commonly known forms of nutritional deficiency in the world.
Iron deficiency is definitely not something that can be ignored or put off for treatment later. By all means, you need to make sure that your body contains enough iron at all times.
So what are some ways to ensure enough daily iron intake?
The best way is to consume adequate amounts of iron-rich foods every day, which we’ll get in to in a bit. Another way is to take iron supplements like Ironsmart that acts as a natural and effective way to increase the haemoglobin content in blood.
Iron deficiency: causes and symptoms
As you already know, iron deficiency occurs when there is not enough content of the mineral in the body, leading to abnormally low levels of red blood cells.
If your body does not have enough red blood cells, it leads to less haemoglobin and in turn less oxygen supply for your body muscles and tissues. This makes them unable to function properly resulting in a condition called anaemia.
Some of the most common causes of anemia or iron deficiency include inadequate iron intake because of a poor diet or a restrictive diet, inflammatory bowel disease, excessive blood loss through internal bleeding or heavy periods and also inadequacy owing to increased requirements during pregnancy.
Coming to the symptoms, the following are the common symptoms of anaemia:
– Unusual tiredness
– Shortness of breath
– Dry and damaged skin and hair leading to hair loss
– Palpitation of the heart
– Swelling of the tongue
Top 10 iron-rich foods
Here’s what you can consume to ensure a regular supply of iron for your body, through your daily diet.
Spinach – 100 grams of cooked spinach contains about 3.5 mg of iron. It also contains Vitamin C which helps in effective absorption of iron by the body.
Shellfish – 100 grams of oysters or clams contain around 28 mg of iron. They also contain a whole lot of other essential nutrients.
Legumes – Some of the most common types of legumes include beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils, and soybeans. They are a great option for vegetarians. One cup or approximately 198 grams of cooked lentils contain around 6.6 mg of iron.
Dark chocolate – A tasty option to keep healthy, dark chocolate is a rich source of iron. One bar of dark chocolate, which comes to about 101 grams, contains 12 mg of iron. It is also rich in anti-oxidants and flavanols.
Broccoli – Being a green vegetable, broccoli is also a fairly good source of iron. A single serving of about 156 grams of broccoli provides 1 mg of iron. It also contains Vitamin C which helps in better absorption
Tofu – Tofu is a soy-based food that is commonly used among vegetarians. A single serving of around 126 grams of Tofu provides 3.6 mg of iron.
Red meat – 100 grams of a form of red meat like ground beef contains approximately 2.7 mg of iron. It is also rich in proteins, zinc and B vitamins.
Quinoa – Quinoa is a very popular grain that is rich in iron and proteins. One serving of quinoa of around 185 grams contains 2.8 mg of iron.
Sardines – Around a quarter cup of sardines contain 1.8 mg of iron. They are also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D.
Black beans – Around half a cup of black beans contain 1.8 mg of iron. They are also rich in proteins and fibre.
Benefits of iron
Ensuring regular consumption of adequate amounts of iron gives you the following benefits:
- Spiked energy and enthusiasm in performing daily work
- Less fatigue and tiredness leading to increased productivity
- Improved strength and muscle function
- Enhanced brain function leading to better concentration, improved learning ability and memory especially among children
- Healthy and smooth pregnancy
- Improved sleep quality being relieved from restlessness and irritation
- Overall improvement in health and wellbeing