A-Z: Iron

Published on: 07/27/2015

Why is Iron Important?
Iron serves multiple functions in the body, but one of the most important is that in the form of hemoglobin within red blood cells. Hemoglobin is needed for oxygen to bind to the red blood cell and be carried to where it is needed within the body (1).


How do I consume iron?
There are two dietary forms of iron, heme and non-heme. Non-heme iron is found in plant sources while animal products contain both heme and non-heme iron. Non-heme iron is not absorbed as well as heme iron, but absorption can be increased by eating iron containing plant foods (spinach, beans, tofu and iron fortified foods) by eating them with Vitamin C containing foods (orange juice, tomatoes or strawberries for example. Red meat and liver are both good sources of heme iron (2).


Symptoms of Deficiency:

  • Lethargy/tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Decreased appetite
If you believe you may have iron deficiency, please consult your primary healthcare provider.



References:
1. Iron. MedlinePlus. 2015.
2. Dietary Sources of Iron. University of Illinois McKinley Health Center. 2010.

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