Iron

Health Benefits: 

  • Vital in the formation of hemoglobin which transports oxygen to support energy levels
  • Aids muscle strength & cell growth
  • Is a part of proteins and enzymes

Recommended Dietary Allowance:

  • Women (age 19-50): 18 mg
  • Men (age 19+) and Women (age 50+): 8 mg
  • Needs are higher during pregnancy (27 mg) and lactation (10 mg)

Sources:

  • Apricots (dried, 1/4 cup) – 1.8 mg
  • Baked potato (6 oz with skin) – 1.8 mg
  • Beef ribeye (5 oz filet) – 3.8 mg
  • Cashews (1 oz or 18 nuts) – 1.98 mg
  • Cereal (fortified) – 18 mg
  • Dark chocolate (1 oz) – 3.24 mg
  • Kidney beans (cooked, 1/2 cup) – 1.98 mg
  • Lentils (1 cup) – 6.6 mg
  • Oatmeal (1 package, instant, fortified) – 11 mg
  • Pumpkin seeds (1/4 cup) – 1.8 mg
  • Soybeans (1 cup) – 8.8 mg
  • Spinach (cooked, drained, 1 cup) – 3.06 mg
  • Tofu (1/2 cup raw, firm) – 3.24 mg
  • Tomatoes (canned, stewed, 1 cup) – 3.24 mg
  • Turkey (1/3 cup dark meat) – 2 mg

Absorption:

  • There are 2 forms, heme and non heme
    • Heme is more readily absorbed and is found in animals
    • Non heme is not as readily absorbed and is found in plants, fortified foods, and animals
  • To enhance absorption of iron, pair it with foods containing vitamin C
    • Drink some OJ or eat some strawberries with your soybeans

Deficiency:

  • Called anemia
  • Caused by blood loss, poor diet, or the inability to absorb enough iron from food
  • Feeling of fatigue and depression
  • Decreased focus

Toxicity:

  • Hemochromatosis is a hereditary disorder where a person stores too much iron
  • Excess iron can cause bodily inflammation and may increase risk of type 2 and gestational diabetes

References:

  • “Kale.” Healthy Living Made Simple. March/April 2014. 36
  • McCulloch, Marsha. “Quick Guide to Iron”. Diabetic Living. Winter 2015. 65.
  • “Iron”. (2015, November 24). Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/

 

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