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Health Benefits of Iron

 

Iron is a catalyst to life-giving oxygen to organ systems through its role in red blood cell production. One of the most important health benefits of iron is that it acts as a carrier of oxygen and thus participates in transferring oxygen from one body cell to other. This is a vital function of iron, as oxygen is required by each and every organ system to perform routine functions. Red blood cells are necessary for providing oxygen to damaged tissues, organs, and cells.


Iron is an important participant of energy metabolism in human body. This process is how energy is extracted from the consumed food and subsequently distributed to different body parts. Its deficiency is a natural cause of fatigue since it is also an important component of hemoglobin. Iron in your diet keeps you fit, healthy, and energetic.


Two-thirds of the body’s iron is found in hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the primary transporter of oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues, while myoglobin is in muscle cells, and makes acceptance, storage, transportation, and release of oxygen possible in those cells.


Iron contributes to more efficiency in blood flow to the brain. Proper flow of blood in the brain can stimulate cognitive activity and help to create new neural pathways to prevent cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Iron also actively takes part in the synthesis of a number of essential neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These chemicals play a major role in different activities involving neurons and the human brain.


Iron also plays a key role in providing strength to the immune system of the human body. Thus, the body is made proficient enough to fight against a number of diseases and infections.  Proper red blood cell count can also result in less fluctuation of blood pressure, which can often keep people awake at night. So, Iron is also useful in treating insomnia in the human body and also improves the sleeping habits and quality of people by regulating their circadian rhythms.


Iron is helpful in the treatment of a severe disorder called iron deficiency anemia, which results from a lack of iron in the human body. It is the most common nutritional deficiency on the planet. People lacking Iron cannot perform normal functions in an optimal way. Women lose considerable amounts of blood every month during their menstruation years, which is one of the major reasons why women are more likely to suffer from anemia than men. This is also why Women require a larger intake of Iron than Men and may operate more optimally with Iron  supplementation.


Iron-Rich Foods

Very good sources of heme iron, with 3.5 milligrams or more per serving, include:

 

  •     3 ounces of beef or chicken liver

  •     3 ounces of clams, mollusks, or mussels

  •     3 ounces of oysters


Good sources of heme iron, with 2.1 milligrams or more per serving, include:

  •     3 ounces of cooked beef

  •     3 ounces of canned sardines, canned in oil

  •     3 ounces of cooked turkey


Other sources of heme iron, with 0.7 milligrams or more per serving, include:

  •     3 ounces of chicken

  •     3 ounces of halibut, haddock, perch, salmon, or tuna

  •     3 ounces of ham

  •     3 ounces of veal


Good sources of non-heme iron, with 2.1 milligrams or more per serving, include:

  •     One-half cup of canned lima beans, red kidney beans, chickpeas, or split peas

  •     One cup of dried apricots

  •     One medium baked potato

  •     One medium stalk of broccoli

  •     One cup of cooked enriched egg noodles

  •     One-fourth cup of wheat germ


Other sources of non-heme iron, with 0.7 milligrams or more, include:

  •     1 ounce of peanuts, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, roasted almonds, roasted cashews,  or sunflower seeds

  •     One-half cup of dried seedless raisins, peaches, or prunes

  •     One cup of spinach

  •     One medium green pepper

  •     One cup of pasta

  •     One slice of bread, pumpernickel bagel, or bran muffin

  •     One cup of rice


 

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