If you work your body or mind hard, you need to watch your iron levels. Iron is really important for your overall health and energy levels.
One of the most important health benefits of the mineral iron is that it acts as a carrier of oxygen and thus participates in transferring oxygen from one body cell to another. This is a vital function of iron, as oxygen is required by each and every organ system to perform routine functions.
Iron is a vital part of haemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs throughout your body. Haemoglobin represents roughly two-thirds of the body’s iron. If you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t product sufficient healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells and thus it can’t produce oxygen. A lack of red blood cells is called iron deficiency anaemia (MD).
- Immune System: The body is made proficient enough to fight against a number of diseases and infections. Red blood cells are necessary for providing oxygen to damaged tissues, organs, and cells and to help them to heal.
- Brain Function: Since oxygen supply in the blood is assisted by it and the brain uses about 20% of the blood oxygen, iron is directly related to brain health and its functions. A good flow of blood in the brain can fuel cognitive activity and thus concentration.
- Fatigue:Iron deficiency can be a natural cause of fatigue (and surprisingly also insomnia) since it is an important component of haemoglobin.
- Muscle Strength:Iron is present in the muscle tissues and assists in the provision of oxygen which you need for the contraction of your muscles (for more details, click here)
HOW MUCH IRON DO YOU NEED?
- 8.7mg a day for men
- 14.8mg a day for women (NHS), some sites recommend 18 mg per day.
TOP 10 IRON RICH FOODS:
- Chickpeas: Also contains protein, fibre, complex carbs, folate, zinc.
- Pumpkin Seeds: About 16% of your daily iron needs in just ¼ cup. You can sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top of your salads or soups or add them to your breads.
- Beans: Kidney & Pinto Beans as well as Soybeans
- Lentils: They contain 37% of our daily iron value in just 1 cooked cup.
- Quinoa: This superfood contains 15% of our daily iron value in just 1 cooked cup. It’s gluten-free and packed with protein. Try making a quinoa porridge or salad.
- Oatmeal, rye
- Fish and Seafood: Salmon, Clams, Mussels & Oysters
- Meat: Liver, Beef, & Lamb &
- Fruit: Dried figs & apricots
Check out the BBC website for Iron rich recipe suggestions.