Iron is an essential mineral that your body needs every single day to function normally. But, although we often hear about how great iron is for our health, we very rarely get told about the specific effects it has on our body. Within this guide, we are going to delve into these effects, establishing exactly why iron is so important.
The Effects Of Iron
All of the following effects of iron on the body have been researched and approved by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority). For more information on these approved claims, see here.
- Transport Of Oxygen
Iron is necessary for the transport of oxygen in the body. This is because it contributes to the formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin, which are responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. We all know how much our bodies rely on oxygen to survive, making it easy to understand just how vital this transport of oxygen is.
- Energy Levels
The body needs iron for energy production. This is why many people take supplements that contain iron to reduce tiredness and fatigue.
While iron has been found to reduce fatigue and tiredness, it’s important to remember that a healthy and active lifestyle will also contribute to your energy levels. Eating nutritious foods and getting enough sleep every night will do wonders for fighting fatigue.
- Function Of The Immune System
Just like many other minerals, iron is necessary for the function of the immune system. Our immune system works incredibly hard to fight off harmful substances and germs, preventing us from developing nasty infections or illnesses. This is why it is so crucial to protect the function of our immune system at all costs.
- Cognitive Function
Iron has also been found to contribute to normal cognitive function. This is because, without the normal transportation of oxygen (which iron contributes towards), our cognitive function can suffer. This relates to many aspects of our brains, including memory, concentration and problem-solving.
How To Get Your Daily Intake Of Iron
Understandably, it can be pretty overwhelming to learn just how much our body needs iron. However, there is no need to worry. Similar to many other vitamins, iron can be obtained through a balanced diet. Foods high in iron include red meat, beans, dried fruit and fortified breakfast cereals.
Although iron can be obtained through diet alone, some people opt to take iron supplements to safeguard their daily intake. This is particularly the case for adults over the age of 50, athletes, and women during menstruation.
When taking supplements, it is important to be aware of the recommended daily intake of iron. This helps to ensure that you do not exceed the recommended intake for your age. As stated by the NHS, the recommended daily amount of iron is currently:
- 8mg a day for women
- 7mg a day for men and post-menopausal women
We hope that you now understand more about iron and its role in your body. If you are concerned about your iron intake and wish for more information, book an appointment with your doctor.