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Iron is a powerful element you can increase in your diet through consuming more iron rich foods. It aids in transporting oxygen throughout your body to improve respiratory, cognitive; cardiovascular and immune system function. The amount of iron you eat needs to be balanced. Too little iron can lead to a dangerous deficiency. However, consuming too much can potentially lead to death.
What Does Iron Do In The Body?
One of the most important functions of iron is in breathing. It helps distribute oxygen to the lungs and transports carbon dioxide back to lung arteries to be exhaled. Other responsibilities iron holds is the production of red blood cells, enzymes and energy. The level of iron in the blood therefore affects your energy levels, brain function, muscles, the rate of recovery from diseases and much more. Although supplements are available, the best source of this element is iron rich foods.
Symptoms of Iron Deficiency
When your body runs low on iron, the result is usually anemia. Anemia is a condition that causes fatigue and has associated symptoms like muscle weakness, headaches, dizziness, cold hands and feet, pale skin and shortness of breath. The severity of these symptoms varies from person to person. Anemia occurs when iron levels are disturbingly low. However, it is possible for patients to have no symptoms at all.
When you are not eating enough iron rich foods, it can also cause unusual symptoms apart from anemia. Some patients report having cravings for items like ice cubes, dirt and even paint. Other uncommon signs of a deficiency include an uncomfortable feeling in the limbs, swollen tongue, brittle nails; black stools, prolonged menstrual period and cracks on the mouth.
How To Add Iron To Your Diet
Physicians often advice patients suffering from a deficiency to eat more iron rich foods. Consuming iron this way is safer and rarely produces side effects. Supplements should be considered when diet does not improve the condition. It is important to get permission from your doctor before taking iron supplements. An overdose can lead to unwanted effects on your health. It is also not uncommon for overdoses to be lethal.
List of Iron Rich Foods
Increasing you intake of iron can be simple if you are committed to a healthy meal plan. The best foods to add to your diet include egg yolks, red meat; turkey, chicken and liver. Among the top vegetables and fruits are leafy greens like spinach and kale, as well as dried fruits like raisins and prunes. Healthy carbohydrates with plenty of iron are whole-grains. Protein sources are beans, lentils and soybeans. Seafood like clams, oysters and scallops can also have huge benefits to your health.
Physicians and dieticians advise patients to couple iron rich foods with plenty of vitamin C. Consuming vitamin C in conjunction with iron can assist in absorbing the element much easier. If you are taking supplements, ask your doctor how to combine diet and dosage to prevent an overdose.
More and more foods are being packed with iron like never before for good reason. Iron is an essential element your body. Without it, systems can collapse and cause serious health effects. However, it is equally important to monitor your intake to prevent an overload.