Iron is one of, if not the most vital nutrients in our bodies. While a small amount of iron is present in almost every human cell, it is mostly found in red blood cells.
Iron has lots of benefits, among which the most notable ones are supporting proper immune function, treating anemia, and boosting hemoglobin.
1. Reduces Symptoms of Anemia
If you didn’t know already, anemia is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the world. Its symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, and extremely fast heart rate.
Anemia occurs when haemoglobin rates are much lower than usual. As we mentioned earlier, iron boosts haemoglobin, and thus reduces symptoms of anemia.
Furthermore, there is a specific type of anemia that has only one cause: iron deficiency. This type of anemia can only be treated by increasing iron intake. (1)
2. Increases Levels of Haemoglobin
Haemoglobin not only reduces chances of suffering from anemia but also plays an important role in the proper functioning of our bodies.
It carries oxygen from lungs to the body’s tissues and returns carbon dioxide from the tissues back to the lungs — without which we cannot live.
So since iron increases levels of haemoglobin, it indirectly helps regulate proper breathing. (2)
3. Reduces Fatigue
Here’s a fun fact: iron may rid you of the unexplained fatigue you’ve been feeling.
Both men and women with low iron intake often feel tired and fatigued because low iron levels are directly linked to low energy levels.
So if you have been feeling tired lately and don’t know why, increase your iron intake because chances are you’re running low on energy due to low iron levels. (3)
4. Boosts Immunity
As we have mentioned several times already, iron increases production of haemoglobin.
But what we didn’t mention was that haemoglobin protects oxygen when it is being carried to different organs and thus strengthens the immune system.
Therefore, without iron, our immune system cannot start the healing process. (4)
5. Improves Muscle Strength
According to recent research, iron deficiency is directly linked to muscle weakness because iron provides the necessary oxygen for muscle contraction.
Furthermore, low iron levels can lead to inflamed muscle tissues — which can be agonizing. On the other hand, when your body has adequate iron levels, it can repair tissues properly and thus save you a lot of discomfort. (5)
Health Issues Associated With Iron Deficiency
As you may have gathered by now, our bodies cannot function properly without iron.
Iron deficiency can lead to a never-ending list of health problems, among which the most common ones are:
- Pale skin
- Cold hands or feet
- Inflammation of several organs
- Headache, dizziness, and lightheadedness
- Fast heartbeat, chest pain, and shortness of breath
If you want to prevent all these discomforting issues, add iron-rich foods to your diet.
Daily Recommended Intake
Here’s the list of daily recommended intakes of iron for different groups based on age and gender:
- For children aged 2-11 years, the recommended intake is 13.7 milligram per day.
- For teens aged 12-19 years, the recommended intake is 16.3 milligram per day.
- For men and women older than 19 years, the recommended intake is 19.3 and 17.0 milligram per day respectively.
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