30 Sep Iron – The Blood Maker
Why we need it and How to get enough?
One of the core philosophies of Osteopathy is the ‘The Rule of the Artery is Supreme’ – in other words, when there is good blood circulation there is good health. A key component which helps to make and transport blood cells is indeed the mineral Iron. Unfortunately the body does not make iron therefore we have to get it through other ways and for many this seems to be difficult, so lets have a look how we can obtain it and benefit from it.
Current guidelines suggest that Men (18 and over) should have 8.7mg a day, Woman between 19 – 50 should have 14.8mg a day and Woman over 50 should have 8.7mg a day. The best sources are:
RED MEAT – Probably the best, easily absorbed and in my opinion tastiest ways to obtain Iron. Eating lamb and beef liver provide a rich source of Iron but pregnant Mothers are advised against eating liver.
DARK LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES – may not taste the nicest but for nutritional value you normally cant go wrong. Go for spinach or 2012’s Super Food of the year Kale.
FORTIFIED BREAD AND BREAKFAST CEREAL – In the UK to tackle iron deficiency most Breakfast cereals and Breads we buy in the supermarket contain added iron; fermented breads are best.
If you grind up some iron rich cereal and add warm water you can use a magnet to separate iron filings from the mush.
One Key note to remember is the way we cook our food alters how much Iron and nutrients in general we obtain from it, lightly pan frying or steaming are normally the best ways to to avoid losing most of the nutrients.
Iron helps to form heamoglobin which is found in Red Blood cells and this helps to transport oxygen through our bodies. Not enough Iron and our bodies struggle to effectively transport the oxygen through our bodies which leads to cell damage.
Iron also helps our muscles to function at there best and recover quicker. It is also important in the production of new healthy cells as well as helping the immune system fight infection.
Here in the UK iron deficiency – Anaemia is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies. Symptoms can include fatigue, pale skin and dizziness.
Other symptoms to look out for are shortness of breath, cold hands and feet, quickened heartbeat, restless leg syndrome and regular headaches.
Is you Iron levels low?
Just as too little iron can bad, so too can too much, therefore it is always best to consult with your GP or dietitian before taking supplements.
If you have noticed that you have started to experience the symptoms then it may be time to contact a healthcare professional and we will be happy to help…