IRON

 
16-Apr-2007 by

Iron rich foods can fortify your Blood, in a properly balanced diet, which can become weakened by a lack of foods rich in iron. Iron, the metal, is an element that is also a trace nutrient mineral that we all need to consume as a part of our everyday diet. Iron, in some form, is essential for good health. Below is a list of foods rich in iron, with some general nutritional guideline of iron content or dietary sources of iron in the foods that we eat. A small amount of iron in our Blood, about 200 milligrams (mg.) per pint of Blood in our systems, or 3 to 4 grams total in mature adults, is necessary to build hemoglobin.

Hemoglobin is the chemical substance in red Blood cells that captures and holds oxygen by circulating throughout the lining of our lungs, and then carries this oxygen throughout our entire bodies to every tissue. This fresh oxygen is then used to burn our internal fuel for energy, which is needed for proper cell growth and development and to provide fuel other important metabolic processes. Iron is also needed to produce myoglobin, the oxygen reservoir in the muscle cells and cytochromes, a class of iron-containing proteins important in cell respiration as catalysts of oxidation-reduction reactions.

As with every deliberate modification to our daily routines,it's always recommend to visit a medical and/or dietary professional

Intake of dietary iron is notoriously low in the American diet, especially in one to two year old children, and in women ages 12 to 50. Iron is often also quite low among athletes whose diets are full of carbohydrates while leaving out important iron-rich foods. Vitamin supplements are often helpful.

A deficiency of iron makes us tired and apathetic, a condition known as anemia. Anemia is characterized by low levels of hemoglobin causing oxygen starvation in your tissues. Though anemia is a common condition, do not try self-diagnosing it, or try self-prescribing dietary supplements, because the same symptoms that indicate anemia can also indicate other more serious diseases, such as bleeding ulcers or even cancer. A list of foods rich in iron are helpful. The list of iron rich foods and high iron foods.

If you are a woman of child-bearing age it is vital to prevent iron deficiency anemia, which increases the risk of complications during and after childbirth. This is done by eating foods rich in iron along with foods that are rich in vitamin C (fresh vegetables, etc.) and by avoiding iron inhibiting foods such as tea.

Are You Iron Deficient?
Lack of iron is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. Women are most particularly at. risk for iron deficiency. The average daily iron intake of a female in the United States is only 12.3 mg. This is well below the adult average amount recommended for good health (the RDA or Recommended Daily Allowance) of 15 mg. The average woman needs 18 mg. iron a day. The average man needs 10 mg of iron in their diet every day. See daily iron rich foods details in the list below.

What is the Optimal Daily Dietary Iron Intake? 
 Children - from birth to age 6 months: 10 mg daily 
 Children - from ages 6 months to 4 years: 15 mg daily 
 Females - ages 11 to 50: 18 mg 
 Females - over age 50: 10 mg 
 Pregnant women: 30 to 60 mg **
 Males - ages 10 to 18: 18 mg 
 Males over age 19: 10 mg 

 

How Would You Know if You Are Iron Deficient?
You could be iron deficient if you..... 
 ..... are unusually tired;
 
 ..... have reduced ability to exercise comfortably;
 
 ..... have poor stamina;
 
 ..... get frequent infections; or,
 
 ..... if you are lethargic.
 

What are the Main Causes of Dietary Iron Deficiency?
1.  Not eating enough iron rich foods. For example, those on restrictive diets and in some cases, vegetarians who do not eat enough of the proper foods.
2.  Increased demand for iron, for example to replace Blood loss (e. g. from menstruation in some women) or in times of accelerated growth (such as during adolescence) or extreme and/or unusual physical activity or during and after an aggressive autologous Blood donation program.

Is All Dietary Iron the Same?
The are two different types of digestible iron in food:
1.  hemo iron, found in red meat seafood and poultry, and
2.  non-hemo iron found in breads, fruits, breakfast cereals, vegetable, legumes (e. g. baked beans), nuts and eggs.

Hemo iron foods are rich in iron and contain iron in a form that is easily absorbed by the body. Red meat also has a special effect on iron absorption. Red meat, when eaten together with the vegetables, can boost the absorption of non-hemo iron by up to 400%. Vitamin C has a similar positive effect on the absorption of iron.

In other words, the key to a healthy iron rich diet is to eat a combination of iron rich foods, high in both hemo and non-hemo iron.

Can We Get Too Much Iron?
A less common though often serious dietary iron problem, found more often in men, is caused by excessive absorption and retention of iron. Men who have this problem have an inherited genetic defect in their ability to regulate the absorption of iron into the body. The result of an iron overload condition can be fatal. This disease often goes undiagnosed because this iron overload condition shows up on a Blood test as low hemoglobin, just like iron depletion. Here is an example of a good reason to not self diagnose health problems. This condition is known as Hemochromatosis.

Normally, there is no great danger in ingesting a toxic amount of iron from food. Intakes of 25 to 75 mg. a day are not going to cause a problem in a healthy and active adult. Too much iron supplement, however, can be lethal and the younger the person who ingests the extreme dose of iron supplements, the higher the possibility of a lethal dose. Thousands of children in the United States are accidentally poisoned each year by swallowing too many iron tablets. In fact, iron is the most frequent cause of poisoning deaths among children in the United States.

Are Iron-rich Foods Good for Iron Deficiency Anemia in Women?
Iron Deficiency Anemia in women, is helped by a diet with iron rich foods along with iron supplements and is often recommended by doctors. Absorption of iron from food is influenced by many factors such as the form of the iron consumed. Heme Iron, which is derived from animal sources, is highly available for absorption in to the human body. Non-heme iron, which is found in vegetable sources, is less available for human nutritional needs. Iron rich foods of an iron rich diet are listed BELOW. The absorption of Non-heme iron can be improved when a source of heme iron is consumed in the same meal. Iron absorption enhancing foods can also increase the absorption of non-heme iron. While several food items can enhance iron absorption, some can inhibit or even interfere iron absorption. Avoid eating them with those iron-rich foods to maximize iron absorption.

NOTE: Pregnant women should not eat liver because of a high Vitamin-A content in beef and other liver. Large amounts of Vitamin-A, when consumed by a pregnant woman,  can be harmful to the baby.

Are You Eating Iron-rich Foods Every Day?
Since the average man needs to digest 10 mg. to 18 mg. of dietary iron every day and the average woman needs 18 or more mg. of dietary iron every day, it is easy to eat a lot of good food and not get enough iron. If you are not getting enough iron, the best way to increase your iron intake is by effecting a slight change in your eating habits. If you are unable to include more iron-rich food in your diet, it may be good to check with your physician about an iron supplement.

Can Eating Soy Cause Iron Deficiency?
A typical criticism of high soy vegetarian diets is based on concerns about anemia, a condition known to most doctors. The research on this condition is not particularly strong, but this potential iron deficiency-causing condition may be cause for concern. Dietary iron and serum ferritin levels (in healthy people, most iron is stored as ferritin, an estimated 70% in men and 80% in women) and smaller amounts, stored as hemosiderin, were measured in a group of Chinese vegetarian and non-vegetarian students. A major characteristic of the vegetarian diet was the replacement of meat by soybean products. Dietary iron was similar in both groups of men, but was significantly higher in female vegetarians than in non-vegetarians. However, the median plasma ferritin concentration was about 50% lower in the vegetarians of both sexes than in the non-vegetarians. Although the men did not show evidence of iron depletion, the prevalence of anemia and iron deficiency were 30% and 50%, respectively, in these female vegetarians. These values were more than twice as high as those for the non-vegetarian women. We believe that, consumed to excess, soy has many potential anti-nutrient effects. A good resource article on this subject is: "Implications of Anti-nutritional Components in Soybean Foods", by Irvin E. Liener.

Exactly What Other Foods Rich in Iron Will Help Me the Most?
Eat more food containing Vitamin C. Vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron into your body. This is very helpful if you are a vegetarian. Vegetarians consume less iron because they obtain it from plant sources. Some plants contain chemicals that bind the iron rendering it more easily absorbed. You can also counteract this being eating foods high in calcium with it (calcium binds the chemicals, making iron more easily absorbed into the Blood) You can still obtain iron from vegetables. Foods such as beans, whole grains, spinach, and dried fruits have a significant amount of iron.

Red meat contains a significant amounts of iron. If fat is a reason that you do not eat red meat, try eating extra lean meat. Liver is an excellent source of iron.

Eat a lot of iron rich cereal. Many cereals are fortified with iron. Check the food label on the box and look for iron under the daily values.

You should also avoid drinking tea with your meals that are high in iron. Tea contains tannin that could inhibit the absorption of iron.

A good policy is to monitor what you eat. You must know exactly what your diet is, having a brief written food intake list, if you wish to enhance or improve it.

Physicians rely on "Blood-work," or clinical laboratory diagnostic Blood testing to diagnose medical conditions. From this Blood testing the medical professional then prescribes therapies and remedies, based on those Blood tests. Good Blood tests make possible state-of-the-art lab procedures that can be provided directly to the public in private and these Blood tests can be provided affordably.

Some of the most common Blood test are:

Allergy Blood Testing
Blood Tests for Autoimmune Diseases
Blood Diseases Testing
Cancer Detection Blood Testing
Blood Cholesterol Test
Diabetes Blood Tests
DNA, Paternity and Genetic Testing
Blood Tests for Drug Screening
Environmental Toxin Blood Testing
Fitness, Nutrition and Anti-Aging
Gastrointestinal Diseases Revealed by Blood Tests
Blood Testing for Heart Health
Hormones and Metabolism
Infectious Disease Blood Tests
Kidney Disease Blood Test
Liver Diseases Blood Testing
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's) Blood Tests
Thyroid Disease Blood Tests

Generally, Iron is very low in the North American diet, especially in children one and two years old. Iron is also deficient in women ages 12 to 50. Iron is also low among athletes, who eat artificially carbohydrates and tend to omit iron-rich foods.

A deficiency of iron makes you tired. This is known as anemia. Anemia yields low levels of hemoglobin, which can cause oxygen starvation in your tissues. Though it is a fairly common condition, self-diagnosis or prescribing supplements can lead to  more serious diseases, such as bleeding ulcers.

There is information on iron rich foods available at your next Bloodmobile visit.

Some Good Sources Foods Rich in Iron* (Dietary Iron) are:

List of Grains Rich in Iron :                                                             Iron (mg.)
Brown rice, 1 cup cooked                                                                0.8
Whole wheat bread, 1 slice                                                                     0.9
Wheat germ, 2 tablespoons                                                        1.1
English Muffin, 1 plain                                                                     1.4
Oatmeal, 1 cup cooked                                                                1.6
Total cereal, 1 ounce                                                                18.0
Cream of Wheat, 1 cup                                                                    10.0
Pita, whole wheat, 1 slice/piece, 6 ½ inch                                                                     1.9
Spaghetti, enriched, 1 cup, cooked                                                                2.0
Raisin bran cereal, 1 cup                                                                      6.3

List of Iron Rich Legumes, Seeds, and Soy:   
Sunflower seeds,1 ounce                                                                 1.4

Soy milk, 1 cup                                                                   1.4

Kidney beans, ½ cup canned                                                              1.6

Chickpeas, ½ cup, canned                                                              1.6

Tofu, firm, ½ cup                                                                     1.8

Soy burger, 1 average                                                              1.8to3.9*

List of Vegetables Rich in Iron: 
Broccoli, ½ cup, boiled                                                                  0.7
Green beans, ½ cup, boiled 0.8
Lima beans, baby, frozen, ½ cup, boiled                                                                 1.8
Beets,1cup                                                        1.8
Peas, ½ cup frozen, boiled                                                                  1.3
Potato, fresh baked, cooked w/skin on                                                                        4.0
Vegetables, green leafy, ½ cup                                                                      2.0 
Watermelon, 6 inch x ½ inch slice                                                                    3.0

A Sample List of Foods Rich in Iron:
 
Blackstrap Molasses, one tablespoon                                                         3.0
Dates or Prunes, ½ cup                                                                     2.4
Beef, Pork, Lamb, three ounces                                                               2.3 to 3.0
Liver (beef, chicken), three ounces                                                               8.0to25.0
Clams, Oysters ¾ cup                                                                     3.0
Dark meat Turkey ¾ cup                                                                     2.6
Pizza, cheese or pepperoni, ½ of 10 inch pie                                                                      4.5 to 5.5

 * Varies with brand. Check the iron content on the label.
** Pregnant women should not eat liver because of its very high Vitamin
    A content. Large amounts of Vitamin A can be harmful to the baby.

What Else Can I Do to Increase Iron in My Blood?
Again, if all else fails, take an iron supplement or a multivitamin with iron. Though vitamins could cause side effects such as constipation and nausea, the proper balance of iron is easily achieved, and the rewards for your efforts are great. Often we hear recommendation of foods high in fiber. You can alleviate most of the problems by consuming the iron supplement on a full stomach. In addition, make sure drink plenty of fluids and eat plenty of fiber rich vegetables 

Iron Rich Foods for Iron Deficiency Anemia. There is a difference between heme iron and non-heme iron rich foods. Diets, rich in iron are best formulated by registered dietitians. Information about iron rich foods, iron rich food, foods with iron, food with iron, foods rich in iron, iron rich diet, iron in food and iron deficiency anemia list. Iron, heme iron, non-heme iron, anemia, anemia, meat, clams, iron supplements, nutrition and should be a registered dietitian for best food and health  

The foregoing text is presented for informational purposes only and is not meant to be used
for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health-care professional. If you
have any questions about the information above, consult a health-care professional at once.

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