Iron is an essential nutrient that keeps muscles strong by storing oxygen in them. It is necessary to obtain the optimal levels of iron from various foods to keep yourself healthy. Optimal levels are 7 to 18 g iron and 27 g for pregnant women.
Hemoglobin is often linked to iron as they both play their part in circulating oxygen with blood. Some blood check terms are very well known to every individual such as blood sugar, cholesterol, hemoglobin and iron levels as these make us fall into different health categories.
An individual has to pay attention and bring blood values to optimzed levels if any of these is out of balance to save the body from the worldwide spreading Heart disease and Diabetes.
Importance of Iron for Our Body
Heme iron is the most useful form of iron found in animal foods 40% of which gets readily absorbed in the body. Good sources for obtaining heme iron are beef, fish, chicken, veal and shellfish.
Red meats and liver are very good sources to obtain optimal levels of iron. Other good sources for non heme iron include kale, spinach, oats, cereal, lentils, wheat, rice, and dried fruits. Almost 80 to 90% of iron is consumed from non heme iron sources and the rest is obtained from heme iron.
Iron is very important for the body as its deficiency can affect mental health, cause shortness of breath, fatigue and headaches. Adding heme iron source to a non heme iron food can increase the absorption of non heme iron which is otherwise not readily absorbed. Once iron gets absorbed in the body, it will act as a building block for hemoglobin.
Iron Rich Foods Can Raise Iron Levels Naturally
Natural foods are always considered a better option for raising nutrients in the body and same goes for iron too. Iron rich foods may help have you good heamoglobin in the body which will then play their part in optimizing health.
Dark leafy greens including spinach, broccoli and kale are the best sources of iron and are good for balancing all blood work too.
Apart from consuming the right foods containing high iron, there are other factors that may increase or reduce iron absorption in the body.
Use Cast Iron Cooking Pots
Using cast iron skillets help fuse some iron into the foods which will increase food’s iron content by 16%.
Separate Coffee or Tea from Iron Rich Meals
Coffee and tea are known to inhibit iron absorption in the body and therefore it is better to reschedule your beverage timings.
Calcium Rich Foods Inhibit Iron Absorption
Calcium is a daily requirement by the body but its consumption should be spaced out from iron intake as it will interfere to reduce iron absorption by 50 to 60% if taken together.
Increase Vitamin C Intake
Vitamin C helps absorb more iron in your body and therefore it is recommended to take citrus fruits, dark greens and melon with meals.
Pregnant women often fall deficient of iron levels in the body which in turn affects the growing fetus’s health. It is important to keep iron levels in healthy range as the growing little one needs all nutrients from the mother’s body to develop itself.
Iron supplements may be an option if you’re having a deficiency and need to increase levels urgently otherwise it is always recommended to take iron in natural form.
Hemoglobin levels are often checked for individuals to see if iron is working well as a building block as it has to carry oxygen through blood. Optimal levels are critically important as any deficiency will make you feel tired and dizzy.