Iron is an essential mineral used to transport oxygen to all parts of the body.
Iron also is involved in producing ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the body's energy source).
Iron is an integral part of many proteins and enzymes that maintain good health.
It is also essential for the regulation of cell growth and differentiation.
Dried Parsley (11% DV per tblsp), Dried Spearmint (10% DV per tblsp), Black Pepper, dried
Marjoram, Cumin Seed, dried Oregano, Bay Leaf, dried Coriander, dried Basil, ground Tumeric, ground Savory, Anise Seed, Fenugreek Seed, dried Terragon, dried Chervil, and dried Rosemary (5% DV per tblsp)
Cocoa Powder and Chocolate
Roasted Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
Sesame Butter (Tahini) and Seeds
Kidney Beans, Lima Beans, Navy beans, Pinto Beans
Shrimp, White Tuna (Canned), Tuna (Bluefin), Chicken Leg (Roasted), Turkey Meat (Dark)
Recommended Daily Intakes
Male 19 - 50 years: 8 mg daily
Female adults 19 - 50 years: 18 mg daily
Adults 51 years and older: 8 mg daily
Pregnant females ages 14 - 50 years: 27 mg daily
Nursing females ages 14 - 18 years: 10 mg daily
Nursing females ages 19 - 50 years: 9 mg daily
A slight deficiency in iron causes anemia (fatigue/weakness) and a chronic deficiency can lead to organ failure.
Feeling tired and weak
Lack of stamina and decreased activity performance
Growth problems during childhood
Decreased immune function
Difficulty in maintaining body temperature
Loss of appetite
Prone to Deficiency
Preterm and low birth weight infants
Older infants and toddlers
Women of childbearing age especially those with heavy menstrual losses
People with renal failure especially those undergoing routine dialysis
People with gastrointestinal disorders who do not absorb iron normally
Too much iron leads to production of harmful free radicals, and interferes with metabolism, causing damage to organs like the heart and liver. Hemochromatosis, also known as iron overload in the body is the abnormal accumulation of iron in parenchymal organs, leading to organ toxicity.
Factors which Affect Iron Absorption and Retention
The most important factor is your existing iron level. A low iron level will increase absorption, while a high iron level will decrease absorption. In general, you absorb 10-15% of the iron from foods. While iron is better absorbed from heme (meat) sources, non-heme (plant) iron is better regulated causing less damage to the body.
Meat proteins will increase the absorption of nonheme iron.
Vitamin C will increase the absorption of nonheme iron by as much as 85%.
Tannins, oxalates, polyphenols, and phytates found in tea and coffee can reduce the absorption of non-heme iron by up to 65%. Black tea reduces absorption more than green tea and coffee.
The following teas and beverages also inhibit iron absorption: Peppermint tea, penny royal, cocoa, vervain, lime flower, chamomile, and most other herbal teas with polyphenols.
Calcium, polyphenols, and phytates found in legumes, whole grains, and chocolate can reduce absorption of nonheme iron.
Some protein from soy products may inhibit nonheme iron absorption.
Calcium, milk, and antacids can inhibit absorption of iron supplements.
High fiber foods, such as whole grains, raw vegetables, and bran can inhibit absorption of iron supplements.
Foods or drinks with caffeine can inhibit absorption of iron supplements.