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5 Important (Science Nerd) things you should know about Iron

  1. Iron is an essential mineral and forms a vital component of myoglobin and haemoglobin (myoglobin and haemoglobin are proteins that bind with oxygen to transport it around the body)
  2. Iron must come from a dietary source. Dietary iron comes in 2 forms:
  • Heme Iron

Predominantly from red meat

Is referred to as Fe+++ in the science world

  • Non-Heme Iron

Predominantly found in plant sources and iron salts, but also in meat

Is referred to as Fe++ in the science world

 

Not to geek out and get too nerdy, but Heme Iron is more easily absorbed then Non-Heme Iron. This is because Non-Heme Iron must be converted from Fe++ to Fe+++ in the body before it can be absorbed.

  1. Iron absorption can either be enhanced or inhibited.

Enhancers

Vitamin C

Organic Acids

Meat

Inhibitors

Zinc

Calcium

Phytates

Polyphenols

  1. You can suffer from both iron deficiency and iron overload:

Deficiencies May Result In:

  • Anaemia (small and pale red blood cells)
  • Behavioural abnormalities in kids
  • Spoon shaped nails that curl upwards

Deficiencies are usually caused by:

  • Plant based eaters may eat many Non-Heme Iron sources but their bodies may not convert efficiently and therefore they do not absorb as much as they need
  • A deficiency in Vitamin A may intensify a deficiency in Iron
  • Women require more iron during pregnancy or menstruation but they simply don’t eat enough or the right sources
  • Iron dietary sources are under consumed overall

Overload’s May Result In:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Shock or even death
  • Increased risk of Cardiovascular disease, Cancer, Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Overloads are usually caused by:
  • Taking too many vitamin pills
  • Not enough physical activity
  • Inefficiencies in body processes
  1. Sources of iron
  • Organ Meats
  • Fish
  • Olives
  • Potatoes
  • Peppers
  • Seaweed
  • Brown Rice
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Beans
  • Dried fruits like raisins and apricots
  • Seeds like pumpkin seeds
  • Prune Juice

 

If you feel as if you may have a health issue that is the result if an overload or deficiency then please seek the help of your primary health care provider.

Recipes

If you are looking for some recipes with some balanced meals and great sources of iron, you can always purchase our Meals For One Recipe Ebook

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