Iron is a key mineral for human metabolism. It is vital in production of red blood cells, important in transporting oxygen to different parts of the body. Iron is also important is converting blood sugar to energy and regulates certain antioxidants. In addition to that, iron also increase your resistance to stress and certain diseases.
Over 70% of iron in the body is present in the bloodstream in the form of blood cells. It is vital in the formation of hemoglobin and also performs other important body functions.
Importance Of Iron In The Human Body :
Iron is required to produce major blood cell components, especially red blood cells and maintain blood circulation in the body system.
The iron-containing protein Hemoglobin in red blood cells is the in charge of transporting oxygen from the lungs to different parts of the body. It is important in maintaining oxygen levels in the body. Lack of iron reduces hemoglobin, which in turn deprives vital organs and parts of oxygen causing cell death.
Antioxidants and Immunity:
Antioxidants like catalase and peroxidase depend heavily on iron to work effectively against free radicals. Iron also affects cytokine production in cells, lymphocyte cytokines which are an important part of the immune system.
Lack of iron makes cells resistant to insulin and prevents the conversion of blood sugar to energy. High insulin along with lack of blood sugar conversion both contribute to heart disease, type-2 diabetes and obesity risk.
Who needs more Iron?
Those who are at the highest risk of iron deficiency include the following persons:
- Pre-menopausal women
- People who frequently donate blood
- Pregnant women
- People with any type of bleeding in the intestines.
- People with gastrointestinal condition which makes it difficult to absorb nutrients from food.
How Much Of Iron Do People Need?
The amount of iron needs in each person will vary depending on age and gender. It also depends on the amount of iron stored on your body. If your body has stored more iron, then your body absorbs less iron from food you eat. otherwise, your ability to absorb iron increases when you stored iron is low.
When compared to men, women need more iron particularly for pre-menopausal and pregnant women. Recommended daily quantity for different persons are listed below:
- Children: 7-10mg
- Young men: 13mg
- Men: 9mg
- Young women: 16mg
- Women: 16mg (18mg during menstruation)
- Pregnant women: 30mg
- Elder people: 9mg
What are the Iron rich foods?
Iron can be found in food in two different forms: haeme iron and non-haeme iron.
Haeme iron: generally found in fish, meat and poultry. Foods containing haeme iron are the best sources for increasing healthy iron levels. Some of these foods include shellfish, oysters, beef, pork, organ meats and chicken.
Non-haeme iron: commonly found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains products. Some of these foods include: eggs, dried beans, breads, broccoli, kale, mustard greens, radish, and dried fruits.
Some of the foods you eat may reduce the body’s ability to absorb iron. Drinking Coffee or tea with meals may reduce the absorption of iron by 50-60%. You have to avoid such food if your diet is low in iron.
With this we come to the end of article on importance of iron for human body and foods which are rich in iron. If you know any other importance or foods which are rich in iron, feel free to write to us. Share this information with others through social media. Thank you.