Iron is essential for our overall health, as it plays a role in numerous processes that occur in the body. Some rich dietary sources of iron include seaweed, red meat, crustaceans, chocolate, and spices.
However, even though it is found in many foods, many people are deficient in it since it is not always well assimilated into our body. Our body cannot easily extract iron from the consumed food, transfer it to the body, and store it.
Men should get a dose of 9mg of iron daily, while women and adolescents need 18mg daily.
Women should get about 9mg daily during a menstrual cycle, and 20mg when pregnant, as iron supports the healthy development of the fetus, and is beneficial for breastfeeding.
Iron deficiency leads to various symptoms, like fatigue, exhaustion, weak immunity, pallor, as well as reduces physical and mental performance. On the other hand, hemochromatosis is the condition of excessive iron levels in the body.
Iron deficiency can occur due to:
- A poorly balanced vegetarian diet or a diet low in iron
- Increased need for iron, like in the case of pregnancy and breastfeeding
- A reduced iron absorption due to gluten intolerance, an inflammatory bowel disease, or other intestinal disorders.
- Reduced bioavailability of iron as a result of the excessive tea or calcium supplement.
- Abundant blood loss like during menstruation or childbirth.
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