Iron and its functions

The headlines of healthy lifestyle websites scream "Iron prolongs life!".

Let's figure out why the body needs iron, what functions it has and does it really "prolong life"?

75% of the iron in the body is functional. It is an essential mineral in our body. Most of it is part of hemoglobin, stains the blood-red and delivers oxygen to tissues and muscles. Iron is also involved in many metabolic processes, affects energy production, DNA synthesis and supports the immune system.

The remaining 25% of iron is the so-called "reserve", accumulated in the bone marrow, liver and spleen.

It's important to know:

 ⁃ Our body can not synthesize iron itself, and we can get it only with food.

 ⁃ Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron.

There are two types of iron: heme (in animal products) and non-heme (from plant sources). Heme iron is absorbed much more efficiently than non-heme iron.

Best sources of iron:

  • Oysters

They can contain up to 28 mg of iron, and this fully covers the body's daily need for this trace element.

  • Dark turkey meat

Attention, there is less iron in white meat.

  • Variety meat

In addition to iron, variety meat is also rich in vitamin A, B group vitamins, choline - an important nutrient for liver and brain health, and protein.

  • Quinoa

The record holder for iron content among cereals. It is also rich in vitamin B9, copper and magnesium.

  • Spinach

It does not lose its beneficial internals and microelements during heat treatment and remains useful in any form.

  • Legume crops

Boiled lentils, beans, chickpea, soybeans, and peas are ideal sources of iron for vegetarians. For better absorption of non-heme iron, it should be consumed with vitamin C.

  • Pumpkin seeds

As with legume crops, due to the non-heme iron, eat sunflower seeds with foods that are rich in vitamin C.

  • Tofu

Another option for people who have given up meat. Tofu is also high in protein, selenium, vitamin B1, calcium and magnesium.

  • Dark chocolate

No less 70% cocoa.

  • Red meat

A good source of highly digestible iron. But it is better not to overeat meat.

What are the causes and consequences of iron deficiency in the body?

Lack of iron in the body, unfortunately, is a very common occurrence. Since we get iron from food, if we do not use it enough, then not enough gets into the body.

During pregnancy, women need more iron than usual, since it is also consumed for the needs of the baby.

Another factor is bleeding. So women lose a lot of iron during childbirth and menstruation.

Some diseases prevent iron from being absorbed normally in the intestines. For example, a stomach ulcer or inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

During physical exertion, profuse sweating occurs, along with which iron is excreted.

All of these can lead to iron deficiency.

Iron deficiency - anemia - is a condition in which there is not enough iron to produce hemoglobin, which has serious consequences:

  • Disruption of oxygen supply to cells;

  • Frequent headaches and muscle pains;

  • Eczema and other skin diseases;

  • Women have menstrual irregularities, hair becomes thin and begins to fall out, skin gets dry and turns pale, nails exfoliate;

  • Malfunction of the cardiovascular system, lowering blood pressure, tachycardia;

  • Mood swings, increased anxiety, sleep disturbances, apathy, constant loss of strength and even depression;

  • Poor appetite, malfunction of the immune system, decrease of its protective functions;

  • Children may suffer from delayed physical and mental development, decreased intelligence, impairment of memory and concentration.

If you have similar symptoms, this may indicate an iron deficiency, from which no one is immune, and the consequences are really serious. Prevention, which guarantees protection, does not exist. However, a regular annual blood test (assuming you lead a healthy lifestyle) will help to control your iron level. By the way, we tell about other tests that are worth taking every year here. And according to its results, if necessary, you can quickly start taking dietary supplements.

Iron in the analysis can be mistaken with ferritin, however, this is not the same thing.

Ferritin is a blood protein that contains iron. Based on its results, the iron stores in the body are checked and anemia or inflammation may be diagnosed.

Iron is an essential mineral for our body, responsible for the well-being, vitality and health of the most important internal systems. Choose a balanced diet, do not neglect the analysis, control iron level and be healthy!