The benefits of iron for the body
Iron deficiency in the body is the most common malnutrition on Earth, which affects every third person. Since this micronutrient dough is associated with the synthesis of hemoglobin, when iron in the blood is lowered, the processes of oxygen transfer to tissues are disrupted, the immune system weakens, and the quality of hair, nails, and skin integrally worsens.
In chronic iron deficiency anemia develops. The most striking symptoms of anemia are a decrease in concentration, fatigue, weakness, rapid heartbeat and tinnitus during physical exertion, shortness of breath. To combat anemia and to increase the level of iron in the blood, both special dietary supplements and ordinary products containing iron can help.
Iron: functions and health effects
In living organisms, iron is a key element that regulates the processes of respiration and oxygen transport from the lungs to the cells of various organs through the hemoglobin protein. In fact, it is iron that stains blood in a characteristic red color - blood loss (both with wounds, and during donation or menstruation) is always associated with a decrease in the level of iron in the body.
Lack of iron not only leads to a decrease in hemoglobin, disrupting the processes of providing tissues with oxygen, but also significantly reduces the body’s ability to destroy and utilize various toxins, affects immunity, cholesterol metabolism, as well as the functions of converting food calories into energy for life. In fact, a lack of iron destroys the body.
Symptoms and consequences of anemia
Anemia, as such, is not a disease - it is a kind of symptom that accompanies a number of pathologies associated with impaired functioning of the circulatory system and a worsening of oxygen metabolism in the body. The cause of the development of anemia can be a lack of iron, vitamin B 12 and folic acid, as well as acute bleeding or accelerated destruction of red blood cells.
At the initial stages, the symptoms of anemia are mild - pallor, weakness, fatigue. If iron deficiency is exacerbated, then a person has shortness of breath and increased heart rate, even with minor physical exertion. With the progression of anemia, heart failure develops, bone marrow function is inhibited, immunity drops sharply.
Iron: daily allowance
To determine whether an individual has an increased or decreased level of iron in the body, a laboratory blood test for hemoglobin is most often used. The normal hemoglobin content in the blood is considered to be 130-160 g / l for men (the lower limit is 120, the upper limit is 180 g / l), 120-160 g / l for women and 110-130 g / l for children and adolescents.
In this case, the immediate daily need for iron is about 8-10 mg for men, 10-30 mg for women (the use of an increased amount of iron is necessary during menstruation), at least 30 mg for pregnant women and 7-10 mg for children under 13 years. As for the daily iron intake for adolescents, they are about 10 mg for boys and 15 mg for girls.
The problem of iron absorption
It must be remembered that iron from foods has a fairly low level of assimilation. Scientific studies suggest that the body is able to absorb no more than 25-30% of iron from animal sources and about 16-18% from plant sources. However, the daily intake of iron takes into account the low level of assimilation of iron and is recalculated on the basis of the averaged 18% assimilation.
Among other things, the absorption of iron is prevented by the joint use of foods containing iron and calcium (just like iron and tannins contained in tea or coffee). In other words, the amount of iron obtained by the body from 100 grams of beef steak and from 100 g of meat stewed in creamy sauce, washed down with strong tea, will be quite different.
Iron content in foods
The richest iron foods are all kinds of seafood, followed by various offal (like liver and animal lungs) and dark meat. The iron content in industrial beef is usually quite low, not to mention the almost minimal content of this microelement in processed meat and industrial chicken.
|The product's name||Iron content per 100 g|
|Pork liver||20 mg|
|Beef liver||17 mg|
|Chicken liver||9 mg|
|Egg yolk||7 mg|
|Chicken meat||2-2.5 mg|
Plant foods that are rich in iron are, first of all, sea kale and legumes - beans, lentils and others. A significant amount of iron is found in nuts - cashews, peanuts and so on. Green vegetables and lettuce are also relatively rich in iron, but it is important to remember that lettuce is not usually consumed in large quantities.
|The product's name||Iron content per 100 g|
|Sea kale||16 mg|
|White beans||8-10 mg|
|Wheat bran||10-11 mg|
|Cashew nuts||7 mg|
|Dark chocolate||5 mg|
How to increase iron in the blood?
If you have noticed symptoms of iron deficiency (for example, constant dizziness, exfoliating nails and skin cracking on your hands), first try to eat natural foods that contain this trace element. Supplements and other preparations with iron should be used exclusively as prescribed by the doctor and on the basis of a full blood test.
Remember that iron tends to accumulate in the body, leading to intoxication. Even if you notice symptoms of anemia in yourself, its causes may not be iron deficiency at all - and in this case taking iron supplements will only do harm. The fact that iron is either lost as a result of internal bleeding, or due to other diseases, can also play a role.
Iron is a key trace element for maintaining the health of the body, because it is necessary for the body to absorb and transport oxygen to tissues. Low levels of iron in the blood are directly related to low levels of hemoglobin. The key foods that contain iron are seafood, dark meat, legumes, and nuts.