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Iron | It’s Good For You

Posted By Sarah Backhouse On April 11, 2008 @ 10:33 pm In Fitness/Diet,G Living | No Comments

Iron. It’s the sixth most abundant element in the universe and one of the most common on earth. And it’s what Superman’s made of it. (Or was that steel?) For us mere mortals, iron is essential for good health. It transports oxygen to our cells as well as regulating cell growth and differentiation. Too little iron and you’re tired, have low immunity and poor work performance. Too much, however, can result in toxicity and even death. So, how do you make sure you are getting just the right amount? And where from?

There are two different types of iron – heme (from animal foods) and nonheme (from plant foods). Because we’re G Living, we’ll focus on the latter. Here are a bunch of foods that will help get your daily fix: iron fortified ready-to-eat cereal, oatmeal, soybeans, lentils, kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, black beans, pinto beans, tofu, spinach, black-eyed peas, raisins, hemp seeds, almonds, pine nuts, whole bread, fortified white bread. Vegetarians have to eat twice as much dietary iron each day compared with their carnivous counterparts (as nonheme iron sources have lower intestinal absorption). So, you may want to eat iron foods along some vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, to increase absorption.

According to that’sfit, the “Recommended Daily Allowance for men age 19 to 50 is 8mg/day; women age 19 to 50 is 18mg/day; men age 51 years plus is 8mg/day; women age 51years plus is 8mg/day.” People who would benefit from extra iron include pregnant women, women of child-rearing age, as well as infants and toddlers with low birth weight.

Final point, a daily iron supplement is sometimes recommended for those suffering from anemia; however, supplements can have nasty side effects (nausea, constipation, etc.) and can never take the place of a healthy diet.

So, take Popeye’s advice and eat your spinach (with a side of orange juice).

(via that’sfit and the National Institute of Health)

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