Apr 02

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Iron – An Important Mineral in Your Diet

Iron: An Important Mineral in Your Diet

Iron is one of the most important mineral which is required by the body to function properly. Iron helps our muscles store and use oxygen. It helps in regulating the growth of cells . It is a part of proteins and enzymes found throughout the body, including haemoglobin and myoglobin, both of which help carry oxygen in the blood. iron deficiency leads to Anemia. The World Health Organization considers iron deficiency the number one  nutritional disorder in the world. As many as 80 percent of the world’s  population may be iron deficient, while 30 percent may have iron deficiency  anemia.
So here you will find

cause and cure for anemia


To get more iron from your food consider following points

Iron Absorption and Vitamin C

1) Always make sure that the iron you consume is absorbed by the body. For this simply take food rich in vitamin C while consuming iron rich food.

2) Consume less tea and coffee as they make iron absorption difficult. Calcium also hinders iron absorption so avoid calcium, tea and coffee for atleast half an hour before and after iron rich food.

3) Cook food in iron pots. As the acid in the food pulls the iron from the pot and increase iron content in the food.

How much Iron is required daily?

Usually people are deficient of iron, specially the women when they are pregnant or are breastfeeding. Women loses iron during menstruation period. So they have to be very careful about iron intake. Excess iron in the body is stored for further use.
If you don’t get enough iron from the food you eat, the body uses excess iron previously stored and if deficiency continues for a long time the body will eventually use up all the stored iron, and it won’t be able to maintain haemoglobin at a normal level. This condition is called iron deficiency anaemia. Other factors that can lead to iron deficiency anaemia are heavy menstrual blood flow, kidney failure, a deficiency of vitamin A (which helps your body extract stored iron), and certain gastrointestinal disorders that interfere with absorption of iron from food. Healthy adult men and postmenopausal women normally don’t lose much iron and have a low risk for iron deficiency.

How much iron?

Iron Requirements The Food and Nutrition Board at the  Institute of Medicine recommends the following:

Infants and children • Younger than 6 months: 0.27 milligrams per day  (mg/day)

• 7 months to 1 year: 11 mg/day

• 1 to 3 years: 7 mg/day

• 4  to 8 years: 10 mg/day

Males • 9 to 13 years: 8 mg/day

• 14 to 18 years: 11 mg/day

• Age 19  and older: 8 mg/day

Females • 9 to 13 years: 8 mg/day

• 14 to 18 years: 15 mg/day

• 19  to 50 years: 18 mg/day

• 51 and older: 8 mg/day


List of iron rich food

ironrichfoodiron source

Sources of Iron for vegans (Vegetarians)-

Top vegan iron sources

Spiruluna- we have already mentioned in one of our previous post that Spiruluna is a superfood which must be a part of your diet.

Spinach- it is an excellent source of iron. Along with iron it also contains vitaminC , which helps body to absorb all the iron from the food. Cooked spinach has more iron than raw spinach.

Jaggery- The dark color of jaggery is due to its high iron content. Consuming jaggery regularly prevents iron deficiency anaemia. Jaggery contains molasses which is high in iron.

Nuts – cashew, pine nut, hazelnut, peanut , almonds, pistachios all contains iron.

Lentils- lentils not only provide proteins but they also give iron. Infact they are the best way to add iron in your daily diet.
1 cup of boiled lentils can fill 30-40% of daily iron requirement.

Soyabean- this superfood also contains iron infact a single cup of boiled sofa bean contains half the recommended amount of iron the body needs daily. 1 cup cooked soya bean can provide 49% of daily value of iron.
Tofu which issue from soy milk is also rich in iron.

Potatoes- potatoes are worldwide available and for vegetarians they are one of the best option to meet body’s daily iron need. Along with iron then contain vitamin C which is required by the body to absorb iron.

Tamarind - it not only aids digestion but contains many nutrients like iron, magnesium, proteins.

Spirulina (1 tsp): 5 mg
Cooked soybeans (1/2 cup): 4.4 mg
Pumpkin seeds (1 ounce): 4.2 mg
Quinoa (4 ounces): 4 mg
Blackstrap molasses (1 tbsp): 4 mg
Tomato paste (4 ounces): 3.9 mg
White beans (1/2 cup) 3.9 mg
Cooked spinach (1/2 cup): 3.2 mg
Dried peaches (6 halves): 3.1  mg
Prune juice (8 ounces): 3 mg
Lentils (4  ounces): 3 mg

30g cashews, 1.5mg of iron

Animal Source of Iron

The best source of iron is found in animal foods, as not only do they usually contain more iron, but our bodies can absorb it better than the iron from plant foods.

12 oysters, 7mg iron

150g Beef steak, 5.55mg iron

20 small mussels, 15mg iron

2 large eggs, 2mg iron

160g lamb fillet, 5.55mg of iron

Iron Deficiency

Symptoms of iron deficiency

People who regularly engage in intense exercise—female athletes, distance runners, vegetarian athletes—may need 30 percent more iron than normal.

Symptoms of iron deficiency include:
lack of energy or tiredness

  • extreme fatigue and feeling of weakness
  • light headedness
  • headache
  • pale skin on the lining of the eyes, the inner  mouth and the nails
  • rapid and forceful heartbeat
  • low blood pressure with position change from sitting to standing up
  • finger nails that become thin, brittle and white  – they may grow abnormally and get a spoon-shaped appearance
  • tongue may become sore, smooth and reddened
  • decrease in appetite
  • shortness of breath during exercise
  • brittle hair
  • reduction in immunity and increased  vulnerability to infection
  • a strong desire to eat nonfoods such as ice,  paint or dirt (a condition called Pica)
  • disturbed sleep
  • abdominal pain

Symptoms of long-term iron deficiency include a burning sensation in the tongue, or a smooth tongue; sores at the corners of the mouth; pica (cravings for a specific non food substances, such as licorice, chalk, or clay); and spoon-shaped fingernails and toenails.


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