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Iron - Benefits, Deficiency Symptoms And Food Sources

Iron is a vital component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen to the various tissues of the body. Life and iron are inseparable: with the sole exception of lactic acid bacteria, all living organisms require iron as an essential element for growth and multiplication. Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional problem in the world.

Benefits and functions of Iron

  1. Transport and storage of oxygen.
  2. Aid in energy production and cell diffusion.
  3. Helps the immune and central nervous systems.

Iron also helps protect you from infections as part of an enzyme in your immune system. It helps change beta-carotene to vitamin A, helps produce collagen (which holds tissues of your body together), and helps make body proteins (amino acids), among its other tasks.

Recommended dosage of Iron

The Recommended Daily Allowance for Iron are :-

  • Adults - 10 to 15 mcg.
  • Children - 10 mcg.

Deficiency symptoms of Iron

Iron deficiency is common. High risk groups include menstruating women, pregnant women, babies and toddlers, teenage girls and female athletes. Lack of iron in the body is known as iron deficiency. It is easy to see how such a deficiency can cause a general lack of energy, and tiredness. Iron deficiency can cause a number of other problems. If anemia is present there may be shortness of breath, palpitations (rapid, or irregular, heartbeats) dizziness and lightheadness. Other symptoms include poor concentration and behaviour problems.

Food sources of Iron

Good food sources of iron include dried fruits, whole grains (including wholemeal bread), nuts, green leafy vegetables, seeds and pulses. Other foods rich in iron but which are usually eaten in smaller amounts include soya flour, parsley, watercress, black molasses and edible seaweeds. The use of ironware when cooking foods also contributes to dietary intake.

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