Iron is to the body what fuel is to a car. You need iron because it helps make the haemoglobin in red blood cells which in turn is used to carry oxygen throughout the body.
Red blood cells also use haemoglobin to help carry carbon dioxide from other parts of the body to the lungs where we then exhale it out.
When you have Iron deficiency anaemia (or just anaemia), your blood cells cannot deliver oxygen to your tissues and organs as required. Symptoms of iron deficiency include
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
Sources of Iron
Beef; I know it has got a bad wrap as the source of all health evils. The thing to always remember with food is that moderation is key. Beef is a good source of iron. So next time you are thinking twice about, just remember, if for nothing else, take it for its rich source of iron.
How much iron do you need each day? It depends on your age and sex. Men need 8 milligrams (mg). Women belong to a special category when it comes to iron needs. Because of how much blood a woman loses during childbirth and menstruation, they should get 18 mg up to age 50, but only 8 after that. If you’re pregnant, you need as much as 27.
Poultry– Not a big fan of red meat? Then poultry will sort you out. Turkey, chicken or duck all come packed with a fair share of iron.
Beans- If all else fails, then beans can be your solace. Kidney beans are especially awesome as a source of iron. Menstruating women are at a higher risk of iron deficiency. Consuming kidney beans boosts iron stores. You can choose these because they are low in calories and are fat-free.
NB: If you are lactating or pregnant, your iron-uptake should be higher. Speak to your doctor about it.