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What is iron and why do we need it?

What is iron

Vitamins and minerals play a huge role in supporting your body’s normal function. From A to Z, there are many to be aware of! In this guide, let’s talk about an incredibly important mineral. Read on to discover what iron is, and why our bodies need it.

What is iron?

Iron is an essential mineral that contributes to the normal transport of oxygen around the body. Iron also hosts many other purposes, including reducing tiredness and fatigue.

Why do we need iron? 4 main reasons

Why exactly do our bodies need iron? All of the following claims have been approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA):

1. It reduces tiredness

Iron, alongside many other vitamins like magnesium and vitamin C, is often used in supplements to reduce feelings of fatigue. That is because the body needs this mineral for energy production. So, if you’re feeling tired, it could be that you’re not consuming enough iron regularly.

2. It supports the transport of oxygen

The vital mineral is needed for making red blood cells and hemoglobin. If you didn’t know, hemoglobin is the protein in your red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout your body. It’s safe to say that the production of hemoglobin contributes pretty greatly towards keeping you alive!

3. It is necessary for the immune system

Iron is necessary for the function of the immune system. We rely on our immune system to protect us from nasty illnesses and germs, making it vital to keep us healthy. A weak immune system may make you more susceptible to various chronic diseases, as your body cannot fight off germs as effectively, even if you wash your hands regularly.

4. Other reasons why we need iron

In addition to reducing fatigue, supporting oxygen transport, and helping the immune system, this important mineral has other purposes too. For example, it does the following:

  • Contributes to cognitive function
  • Supports cell division

As you can see, iron plays a huge role in your body, ensuring that it functions normally in many areas. But, how do you get your recommended daily intake of it? Here you go:

How to get iron

According to the NHS, the recommended daily amount of iron is 14.8mg for women and 8.7mg a day for men and post-menopausal women. Please note that these figures have been approved for UK use, and may vary if you are living in a different country.

Thankfully, there are many different foods that are high in iron, making it easy to meet your intake through diet alone. Foods that have high concentrations of iron in them include:

  • Red meat
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Fortified breakfast cereals

Did you know that liver is another excellent source of iron? However, if you are pregnant, it’s best to avoid eating liver.

Alternatively, many people choose to take daily iron tablets to ensure they consume the daily recommended amount of this mineral to feel at their best. These tablets are particularly beneficial for those over the age of 50 or women who are menstruating.

When to see your doctor

If you are concerned about your iron intake, it is wise to visit your doctor to discuss it in greater detail. This professional will be able to rule out any deficiencies and provide more information on how you can obtain a healthy daily intake of minerals and vitamins.

12 thoughts on “What is iron and why do we need it?”

  1. Christy, this reminds me –
    Last November my man had a number of blood tests; one of which was his iron marker. His doctor called him into his office a few days later to inform him that his iron was exceedingly high. As they conversed it came out that the Vitamin C tablet that K was taking every day was probably the cause for the high iron. It seems that Vitamin C can (if taken daily) produce a too high iron uptake.

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