How To Tell If You're Getting Enough Iron

by Meredith Grace
On Recipe Rehab, Evette Rios’s “Healthy Pop Quiz” showed how meat, poultry, and fish are excellent sources of iron - a key ingredient for a healthy circulatory system. There’s more to iron that meets the eye, and it’s important to ensure that you’re getting enough of the metallic micronutrient in your daily diet.

 

 

Not Enough Americans Consume Enough Iron


You might not think twice about the iron content in your diet, or even know why it’s important. You’ll probably be surprised to learn that it is the most common nutrient deficiency in America, particularly among women. Close to 10% of women are iron-deficient, according to the Center for Disease control. Iron is an essential mineral that is key for transporting oxygen through the hemoglobin in our blood. Without enough iron, the body falls behind in red blood cell production, resulting in iron deficiency anemia.

 

How To Tell If You Need More Iron


One of the most common symptoms of iron deficiency is exhaustion, stemming from a lack of oxygen in the body’s blood supply and brain. This is particularly important if you’re pregnant, as it could cause your baby to be born prematurely or stunt it’s growth in utero. Even if you’re not pregnant, iron deficiency weakens your immune system and impedes your brain function. If you think you might be low in iron, a simple blood test at your primary care doctor can confirm a diagnosis.
 

Ways To Get More Iron In Your Diet


Incorporating more iron into your diet is easier than you might think. Iron-fortified cereals and oatmeal are healthy and filling options for breakfast, especially when paired with fruits high in vitamin-c, which boosts the body’s absorption of iron. Beans and certain whole grains, like kidney beans, hummus, quinoa and lentils are great sources of iron and can be added to a variety of different recipes. And as we saw on Recipe Rehab, red meat, poultry, and fish are naturally high in iron.
 
The recommended daily amount of iron varies between adult men and women. Women should consume about 18g of iron per day, while men can get by on 8g. Some people will find that they do not absorb iron as easily as others, especially with a limited diet like those of vegetarians and vegans. In some cases, it may be ideal for a person to take an iron supplement.
 
It’s important to note that unlike most nutrients and vitamins, it is possible to over do your iron intake. Adults should not take more than 45g of iron per day. Iron overdoses can be exceptionally deadly in children, whose bodies cannot regulate a high dosage of the micronutrient. For this reason, adult iron supplements should be kept out of reach of children and toddlers.
 
Making sure you get enough iron in your daily diet is just one part of taking charge of and balancing the necessary nutrients for a healthy body. By “pumping iron” in the kitchen, you’ll boost your energy and support your circulatory system to power you through wherever your day may take you.
 
recipe-rehabWATCH on Z Living: Recipe Rehab, where each week two chefs face off in a competition to give one family's high-calorie recipe a new low-calorie twist. See a sneak peek here.
 
 

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