Health Benefits of Iron Rich Food
Iron is a mineral essential for life. It is present in every living cell and is necessary for the production of hemoglobin, myoglobin, and certain enzymes. Everyone should be eating iron-rich foods on a daily basis, especially women (due to menstruation and bleeding) as iron is one of the two major deficiencies in American women, the other one being calcium.
Let’s Get Sciencey!
Try not to fall asleep, I promise to make this quick.
Most of the body’s iron is in the proteins hemoglobin in the red blood cells and myoglobin in the muscle cells. Iron has many different roles in the body. In addition, iron is involved in reactions within the body that produce energy.
There are two forms of iron, heme and non-heme. The iron in meat is about 40 percent heme and 60 percent non-heme. About 25 to 35 percent of heme iron is absorbed, and this percentage drops to 3 percent for non-heme iron. This difference is important because heme iron is found only in animal flesh.
Iron Deficiency and Anemia
If iron is lacking in the diet, iron reserves are used. Once this supply is depleted the formation of hemoglobin is affected. What does this all mean? Simply put, the red blood cells cannot carry oxygen needed by the cells. When this happens, iron deficiency occurs and anemia results. Iron deficiency and anemia are not the same. Anemia results when severe depletion of iron stores result in low hemoglobin concentration.
Vegetarians in particular need to be aware of the low absorption of non-heme iron. There is a number of methods to improve iron absorption so take notes (especially my herbivore friends)! The best method is to combine iron rich food with foods high in vitamin C. For maximum benefit, these foods must be eaten at the same meal as the iron source.
Foods that definitely interfere with iron absorption are coffee, black tea, sugar, wheat bran and egg yolk; so if you have iron problems you may want to either avoid these foods altogether or eat them away from your iron-rich foods.
I hope you haven’t fallen asleep on me! No to worry, the technical stuff is over. I’m going to present to you a list of top foods rich in iron and vitamin C. Combine these foods to improve the absorption of iron.
TOP IRON-RICH FOODS
– Red meat
– Egg yolks
– Dark, leafy greens (spinach, collards)
– Dried fruit (prunes, raisins)
– Iron-enriched cereals and grains (check the labels)
– Mollusks (oysters, clams, scallops)
– Turkey or chicken giblets
– Beans, lentils, chick peas and soybeans
TOPS FOODS HIGH IN VITAMIN C
– Red and Green Hot Chili Peppers
– Bell Peppers
– Fresh Herbs (Thyme and Parsley)
– Dark Leafy Greens (Kale, Mustard Greens, Garden Cress)
– Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts
– Kiwi Fruits
– Papayas (aka: Lechoza, Mam?Ã¯Â¿Â½o, Pawpaw)
– Oranges and Clementines (Tangerines)
I get my Iron and Vitamin C from Shakeology, and most of the foods mentioned above. Where does your daily dose come from?