Benefits of iron

Benefits of iron (24th Jun 2023):

iron benefitsIron is a mineral essential for the body’s growth and development. It plays a crucial role in the production of hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs to all body tissues, as well as myoglobin, a protein that supplies oxygen to muscles. Iron is also necessary for the synthesis of certain hormones.

The recommended daily intake of iron varies depending on factors such as age, sex, and dietary preferences, particularly for those following a predominantly plant-based diet. The average daily recommended amounts of iron, measured in milligrams (mg), are as follows. It’s important to note that vegetarians who do not consume meat, poultry, or seafood require nearly twice the amount of iron listed below due to the lower absorption of nonheme iron found in plant-based foods compared to heme iron found in animal-based foods.

Life Stage Recommended Amount
Birth to 6 months 0.27 mg
Infants 7–12 months 11 mg
Children 1–3 years 7 mg
Children 4–8 years 10 mg
Children 9–13 years 8 mg
Teen boys 14–18 years 11 mg
Teen girls 14–18 years 15 mg
Adult men 19–50 years 8 mg
Adult women 19–50 years 18 mg
Adults 51 years and older 8 mg
Pregnant teens 27 mg
Pregnant women 27 mg
Breastfeeding teens 10 mg
Breastfeeding women 9 mg

Iron is naturally present in many foods, and it is also added to certain fortified food products. By consuming a variety of foods, you can obtain the recommended amount of iron. Here are some examples of iron-rich foods:

  • Lean meat, seafood, and poultry
  • Iron-fortified breakfast cereals and breads
  • White beans, lentils, spinach, kidney beans, and peas
  • Nuts and certain dried fruits, such as raisins

Iron in food can be categorized into two forms: heme iron and nonheme iron. Nonheme iron is found in plant-based foods and fortified food products, while heme iron is present in meat, seafood, and poultry.

To enhance the absorption of iron from plant sources, it is beneficial to consume it alongside meat, poultry, seafood, and foods high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, strawberries, sweet peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli.

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