Iron is a vital nutrient. It plays a vital role in the production of hemoglobin and myoglobin as well as other enzymes. The iron helps transfer the oxygen from the lungs to the various muscles in the body. An iron deficiency can cause anemia – tiredness and weakness.
Recommended Iron Servings (per day)
Men: 10 mg
Children: 10 mg
Women (pre-menopause): 15 mg
Teenagers: 12 mg
Menopausal women: 10 mg
Teenage girls: 15 mg
Pregnant women: 30 mg
How to Increase Your Iron Intake
Be sure to eat meat – dark turkey meat, red meat, spleen and livers (but remember that internal organs have a high cholesterol level). Legumes are another good source of iron – especially for vegetarians. Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron, therefore it is recommended to consume iron-rich foods with calcium-rich foods at the same time. If you are taking vitamin C supplements, take them in small doses with each meal. Dairy products inhibit the absorption of iron – avoid eating dairy at iron-rich meals. Dietary fibers also inhibit the iron absorption therefore lower your consumption of foods with dietary fibers during iron-rich meals.
Taking iron pills?
Make sure you:
- Take the pills on an empty stomach together with vitamin C-rich foods
- Avoid taking the supplements with milk, coffee, tea and dietary fibers
- Taking supplements can change the color of your stool and the cause constipation or diarrhea