There are several minerals out there that your body needs access to in order to function normally. One of these most essential, and well-known, minerals is iron. Within this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about iron and how it works in your body.
What Is Iron?
Iron is known as an “essential” mineral. It has many important roles to play in the body, as to which we will discuss further a bit later in this guide.
You might be surprised to learn that iron can be found in every cell in your body. When put into this perspective, it becomes clear to see just how vital it is to absorb enough of it. This is why many people choose to take iron tablets to safeguard their intake.
The Role Of Iron In The Body
You’re probably intrigued to learn more about these “important roles” that iron has to play in the body. Don’t worry – all is about to be revealed! The most crucial roles that iron plays in the body include:
- Assisting with the production of hemoglobin
- Helping you to fight against tiredness
- Affecting the activity of the heart, liver and muscles (EFSA, 2010).
It’s safe to say that, without iron, many processes in the body wouldn’t be able to take place normally.
The great thing about iron is that it can mainly be sourced through a balanced diet. This comes down to haem iron which is found in animal foods and non-haem iron which is found in plant based foods. Unfortunately for vegetarians and vegans, however, non-haem iron isn’t absorbed by the body as easily.
Popular sources of iron include:
- Red meat
- Fortified breakfast cereals
Understanding Iron Intakes
The NHS states that your body needs to meet these iron requirements every single day:
- Men Over 18: 8.7mg a day
- Women Aged 19 to 50: 14.8mg a day
- Women Over 50: 8.7mg a day
Do You Need Iron Supplements?
There might be times in which extra supplementation is needed. For example, women who experience heavy periods will need to up their iron intake to make up for extra blood loss (iron loss).
For most people, however, maintaining a balanced diet should be enough to get the iron that you need. If you are worried about your iron intake or feel as though you are experiencing a deficiency, always reach out to your doctor for further guidance. In most instances, they will run blood tests before determining whether you are lacking iron or not.
Iron is an essential mineral that we all need to function normally. Without it, you would experience some very unwanted side effects! Through maintaining a balanced diet and getting assistance from supplementation when necessary, you should have no trouble meeting your daily iron requirements.