Importance of iron in our daily diet

If a person does not get enough iron from daily diet, he or she becomes anaemic. This is a condition in which a person’s blood has lesser number of red blood cells. It is because haemoglobin that constitutes the red blood cells requires iron for its formation. Iron is also necessary for many other body functions ranging from metabolism to fighting infections. The deficiency of iron in the body get manifested a paleness, intestinal disorder, panting, palpitation and general fatigue. In extreme cases iron deficiency might also make a man crave for non-eatables. This condition is called as pica. Iron deficiency makes the fingernails thin and fragile. Iron deficiency can also lead ulcers, inflammatory bowel syndrome and haemorrhoids.

When compared to men, the need for iron is found to be more in women. Iron should be supplied in greater quantities to pre-menopausal and pregnant women. Iron requirements vary according to a person’s age. Men above the age of nineteen and women above fifty-one need around eight milligrams of iron per day. Meat, poultry, fish, green leafy vegetables, raisins, nuts, beans, whole grains and fortified cereals are rich suppliers of iron.

However, the amount of dietary iron absorbed mainly depends on what other foods are eaten along with the iron source. Certain salts and chemicals meddle with the absorption of iron by the body. Chemicals found in beverages such as tea, coffee and cocoa are examples. The body finds it easy to absorb certain types of iron whereas the absorption of certain other iron stuff is difficult. Iron in meat gets absorbed easily when compared to that present in vegetables. On the contrary, ascorbic acid found in fruits and fortified cereals promote the absorption of iron. An easy solution to solve the problem of iron deficiency is to take iron tablets. However, it is ideal to solve the deficiency by including more iron-rich food in your daily diet.

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