The Importance of Iron in Your Diet

Iron rich foods

Iron is a key nutrient that ensures proper growth and functioning of the body and promotes the production of proteins that transport oxygen and regulate cell development.

It is necessary to consume adequate amounts of iron in your diet to preserve the bodily functions. If you fail to do so, you may develop an iron deficiency, which can result in a condition called anemia. Hence, consider adding the following food sources in your daily diet to keep your iron levels in check.

Here are 6 reasons you should include iron in your diet – Popeye knew the secret!

1.   Improved energy levels

Iron is responsible for carrying oxygen to your muscles and brain. If you do not consume enough iron in your diet, the energy-using efficiency of your body will be affected. Iron helps improve focus and concentration level, reduces irritability, and enhances stamina.

2.   Enhanced athletic performance

Proper iron intake is particularly important for individuals who lead an active lifestyle, as it boosts athletic performance.

Since iron produces red blood cells that contain hemoglobin, which transfers oxygen to the tissues, its deficiency may lead to poor performance during physical strain.   

3.   Healthy pregnancy

During pregnancy, your blood volume and red blood cells production increase to make sure that the fetus gets all the necessary nutrients. Thus, the need for iron also increases.

Adequate iron intake lowers the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, low iron stores, and cognitive and behavioral deficits in infants. A pregnant woman who consumes iron in her daily diet is less likely to be attacked by a virus and suffer from infections.

4.   Boosts the immune system

Iron plays a major role in strengthening your immune system. It is capable of preventing and treating various health conditions. The red blood cells that it produces are essential for repairing tissue and cell damage and thus, preventing any further issues. Hemoglobin in the red blood cells also boosts your immune system and ensures that it works at optimal levels.

5.   Improves cognitive function

Your brain demands iron for functioning properly, as it requires oxygenated blood for improved cognitive functions. Iron promotes the blood flow in the brain, helps it create new neural pathways to prevent cognitive complications, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Hence, a diet rich in iron is beneficial for quick cognitive functions and overall health of the brain.

6.   Promotes peaceful sleep

Do you often find yourself unable to fall asleep at night despite being tired to your core after a long day at work? Well, you might be iron deficient. Before the condition gets out of your hands and becomes harmful for your wellbeing, start incorporating iron-rich foods into your regular diet to not only fall asleep easily but also enjoy a deep restorative sleep every night.

The importance of iron in your diet cannot be overlooked – a healthy diet is not healthy if it does not contain iron in the right proportions. So, to keep your body functioning at its optimal level, you need to make sure you are eating enough iron-packed foods daily. 

Author
Health One Family Medicine

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