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Iron In Your Food

Feb 1, 2008
If you are feeling faint, are finding yourself frequently irritable and getting short out of breath a lot and are losing color on your normally pink cheeks, then you might be suffering from iron deficiency anemia. As the name suggests, you lack a very important nutrient - iron. Everybody needs iron. This mineral is important because it is what aids our able bodies to produce hemoglobin. The latter being the oxygen carrier in our red blood cells has the vital task of delivering oxygen from our should-be-healthy lungs to the rest of the parts of the human body. Low levels of iron means low levels of hemoglobin. And when our tissues are starved enough of oxygen then we get a dose of the terrible symptoms earlier mentioned.

Iron is critically important during the growth year periods namely infancy, childhood, adolescence particularly for menstruating women and pregnancy. It is on these stages when our body produces more blood tissues. The more tissues we get, the more our blood volume increases and it follows that we need more iron to transport and distribute oxygen to the new additions. Inadequacy and shortcoming of iron supply especially during the infant phase can cause grave consequences which might be life long. Iron deficiency anemia at earlier stages will have a major effect on the cognitive functions and could even lead to mental impairment. Tests have shown that children who were low with iron demonstrated low performances on aptitude tests and low learning curves as compared to those who had adequate intake of iron in their diets.

As this is the case, it is imperative that iron should be greatly incorporated in our daily diets. It is thus essential to know what the foods are that are rich in this mineral resource. The most common source of iron is meat. This includes lean red meats such as pork, beef and even lamb; pork, beef and chicken liver, meat from chicken and turkey. Add to the list seafood namely clams, oysters, tuna, shrimp, salmon and mussels. The egg yolk is also a good source of iron so you might want to remember that and list it down as part of your breakfast menu. Animal sources are usually preferred because the body is able to absorb them better as compared to their green leafy counterparts.

Vegetable sources of iron can comprise of black strap molasses, beans which may be kidney, navy, lima, black, pinto, lentils or soy beans, greens such as kale, mustard greens, collard greens, spinach and turnip greens and vegetables as swiss chard, asparagus, broccoli, watercress, parsley and brussel sprouts. If you are having a hard time getting your child to eat these vegetables then you might want to try to trick him with a Popeye story. The famous sailor man loves to gulp down spinach and the latter is actually a very good source of iron. A great supply of iron can also be obtained from tofu, cereals, breads, rice and pasta. You can also get iron by munching on nuts and dried fruits including raisins, apricots, prunes and dates.
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