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Iron – An Important Mineral

May 25, 2011

The following is an archived post

 

Iron is a mineral that exists in every single living cell.  Its main job?   To help our red blood cells carry oxygen to the rest of the body.  It is also necessary for making important substances our bodies need, like amino acids (the building blocks of protein), hormones, enzymes (to digest food!) and to make new cells.

 
Iron storage is limited and when enough iron is not taken in from foods, these stores can be easily used up.  If  iron stores are low, you may start to notice that you don’t feel all that well.

 

Possible Signs of Low Iron:


*  Tiredness
*  Poor concentration
*  Tendency to feel cold
*  Irritability

 

This can all be easily fixed by consuming more iron-rich foods!  Iron is found in both plant and animal foods.  Animal sources include meat, poultry and fish.  Plant sources include raisins, green leafy vegetables, lentils and beans, soy foods, and iron-fortified cereals, grains, and flours.  Plant and animal sources of iron are slightly different in their chemical structure.  This difference accounts for the fact that iron is better absorbed from animal sources.

 

How to find the best sources of iron:


Check the nutrition facts label!  If it has 10% or more of your daily value of iron, then it is considered a good source.  If it has 20% or more, then it is an excellent source!

 

Something everyone can do to maximize iron absorption?  Have a Vitamin C-rich piece of fruit, like an orange.  Vitamin C aids in iron absorption!

What About Supplements?


An iron supplement may be recommended in some cases.  But because iron can be toxic in high doses, never take a supplement without speaking with a doctor.

 

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