The Importance of Iron

Your body needs a fair amount of this naturally occuring mineral to stay healthy. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t getting enough.

Did you know that iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States? Not getting enough iron may lead to a condition called iron-deficiency anemia, which can cause fatigue, fast or irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, and a slew of other symptoms that can affect your quality of life.

Iron2Eating an iron-rich diet is especially important for women. According to the Mayo Clinic, some causes of iron-deficiency anemia are due to menstrual bleeding. Although some people have a predisposition to iron deficiency, the good news is that there is an abundance of iron-rich foods and supplements to give you the nutrients you need.

There are two types of iron found in food. Heme iron, which is found in poultry, fish, and other meats, is most easily absorbed into your body once eaten. Non-heme iron is found in both plant foods and meat. While foods containing non-heme iron are equally as good for you, the iron won’t be absorbed as completely as heme iron is.

According to the American Red Cross, eating foods with heme iron generally boosts iron levels far more than eating foods with non-heme iron. For maximum iron absorption, eat foods rich in both heme iron and non-heme iron. Not a meat eater? Pair your foods rich in non-heme iron with foods high in vitamin C, which can help with iron absorption.