Iron is a mineral that is essential for human health. It is a component of hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues.
Iron also plays a role in the immune system and the production of collagen, a protein that helps to form the body’s connective tissues.
There are two types of iron found in food: heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron, which is found in animal products such as meat, poultry, and fish, is more easily absorbed by the body than non-heme iron, which is found in plant-based foods such as leafy greens, beans, and nuts.
Eating a diet that is rich in iron can provide a number of health benefits. Iron is necessary for the production of red blood cells, which helps to prevent anemia and fatigue. It also plays a role in the immune system and helps to maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails.
Examples of iron-rich meals:
• Grilled steak with roasted vegetables
• Baked salmon with quinoa and spinach
• Lentil and vegetable curry with brown rice
• Chicken and vegetable stir-fry with tofu
• Black bean and sweet potato enchiladas
Examples of iron-rich snacks:
• Dried apricots
• Roasted pumpkin seeds
• Dark chocolate
• Spinach and feta stuffed mushrooms
• Beef jerky
Please note that some iron-rich foods are also rich in other nutrients, so it’s important to have a balanced diet and to consult a doctor or a nutritionist if you have any specific concerns about your diet or health.
Be aware that too much iron can also be harmful!
Iron overload, or hemochromatosis, is a condition in which the body absorbs too much iron and it can lead to damage to the liver, heart, and pancreas.
Too much iron can also be caused by genetic factors, but it can also be caused by excessive alcohol consumption and certain medical conditions.
The daily recommended intake of iron varies depending on age, sex, and pregnancy status. Adult men and postmenopausal women need 8 mg of iron per day, while adult women between the ages of 19 and 50 need 18 mg of iron per day. Pregnant women need 27 mg of iron per day.