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Ironclad Facts

Iron is a min­eral that is essen­tial for the body to func­tion. It helps form hemo­glo­bin and trans­port oxy­gen through the blood stream. If you get too lit­tle iron in your diet, your tis­sues will not receive enough oxy­gen. Iron also helps with immu­nity and liver function.

An iron defi­ciency can lead to a drop in hemo­glo­bin and red blood cells. This is known as ane­mia. Symp­toms of ane­mia include fatigue and a gen­eral feel­ing of unwell­ness, very pale skin, brit­tle nails, cold hands and feet, headaches, and loss of appetite. If you are suf­fer­ing from these symp­toms, check with your doc­tor immediately.

If you are iron defi­cient, there are sev­eral easy ways to ensure you get enough iron. The fol­low­ing foods are rich sources of iron:

  • Red meat
  • Fish and poultry
  • Lentils and legumes
  • Leafy greens (i.e. spinach)
  • Tofu

Iron sup­ple­ments can also be effec­tive in treat­ing ane­mia, espe­cially cases caused by preg­nancy, heavy men­strual cycles, kid­ney dis­ease, or chemotherapy.

The Rec­om­mended Daily Allowance of iron will depend on age and gen­der. Preg­nant women will need to be sure to take in extra iron.

 

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