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Iron Deficiency Is Preventable With Foods

April 25, 2011
Iron is one of the basic requirements of most life forms on earth. In humans, iron is a vital component of blood that aids in the production of red blood cells. Iron needs to be maintained at a healthy level in the blood. Iron is contained both in cells and in hemoglobin itself where it is essential. A lack of iron will reduce the hemoglobin count and reduce the oxygen level that the blood is capable of carrying.

This in turn can be serious as patients of severe anemia can even die of the effects of hypoxia.  Iron deficiency is the leading cause for anemia in humans. Apart from a traumatic event like an accident which causes blood loss, iron deficiency is usually associated with a lack of iron in the patient’s diet.

Iron can be found in many natural foods and it is essential that one eats a good balance of iron rich foods in order to maintain the iron levels in the blood.

Typically a very tiny amount of iron is extracted from the food we digest and most of the iron will be passed out. It is important to know that we usually have around 4 grams of iron in our bodies. Dietary iron is available through many food sources.

Fortunately vegetarian and non vegetarian sources exist for iron.

Among vegetarian sources, you can access many leafy vegetables that contain iron. Potatoes (with skin), spinach, turnips, and even peas contain some iron in them. Several cereals such as bran and oatmeal contain iron.

Most lentils contain iron and are a good source for proteins and other vitamins and minerals. Because iron is bonded with protein in the bloodstream, you may try legumes as a good source of both iron and protein.

Non vegetarian sources for iron tend to contain more iron per serving. Sea food like clams and oysters are rich in iron, especially steamed clams. Chicken and beef livers are also good sources of iron although some people do not find this part of the body to be particularly palatable. Beef itself has some iron content and is good source of iron.
Excessively high levels of iron are now considered to be risky when it comes to the development of chronic diseases. Unregulated iron supplements are the main cause of this, particularly in older people. It is always better to seek iron from a healthy and nutritious diet as the diet will also contain other required components like dietary fiber, various vitamins and various minerals.
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