Friday, January 10, 2014

Iron - an important element for our body

In this post, let me share on importance of iron and how shall we be a wiser consumer in choosing the right source of iron.

Iron is an important element that will maintain the optimal operation of our body systems.

Medical studies have shown that infants, children, youngsters and women in particular expecting mothers, are the higher risk groups for iron deficiency. Meanwhile, others must also not overlook the importance of these two elements to their health.

Recommended daily allowances for iron:

Age 1-3:               7 mg per day (Male)      7 mg per day (Female)
Age 4-8:              10 mg per day (Male)    10 mg per day (Female)
Age 9-13:              8 mg per day (Male)    15 mg per day (Female)
Age 14-18:          11 mg per day (Male)    15 mg per day (Female)
Age 19-50:            8 mg per day (Male)    18 mg per day (Female)
51 and above:       8 mg per day (Male)    18 mg per day (Female)
During pregnancy:              -                      27 mg per day (Female) 

Iron is responsible for the formation of red blood cells, and is an important constituent of hemoglobin and muscle pigment. Iron is the a major component of hemoglobin responsible for the transportation of oxygen molecules to all parts of the body. If the iron content in our body is too low, our red blood cell count and hemoglobin level will drop, resulting in reduced energy supply for us to carry out daily activities, causing us to feel lethargic and other signs of anemia.

There are 2 major source of iron in our food: Heme and nonheme. Heme iron is present in meat (especially liver), fish and poultry. Nonheme iron is present in legumes, grains, fruits and vegetables.

Why are plants better sources of iron?
The body handles these 2 types of iron differently. Heme iron is rapidly absorbed by the body and continues to be absorbed and stored whether the body needs it or not. This may easily lead to an iron overdose. Nonheme iron, on the other hand, is absorbed more slowly, taking only what it needs to maintain healthy levels.

Iron Supplements?
Thinking of getting a quick iron fix with iron tablets? Think again. Possible side effects of iron supplementation include constipation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark colored stools and or abdominal distress. Too much iron in blood puts you at risk for increased oxidative stress which is believed to be a culprit in cancer and heart disease.

Iron supplements SHOULD NOT be taken by men, postmenopausal women and people with a dangerous condition called hemochromatosis, which causes excessive absorption of iron, leading to a build up of excess iron in organ tissues!! In children, death has occurred from ingesting 200 mg of iron. Seek medical attention immediately for accidental excessive iron intake.

Overdose can result from taking iron supplementation. Wholesome foods, on the other hand do not carry any risk of overdose.

What are the wholesome food rich in iron?
Nutritional Immunology harnesses the power of iron-rich wholesome plant foods to provide a safe and natural way of ensuring adequate iron intake for boosting your vitality and immunity.

Maitake Mushroom
Besides iron, this mushroom is rich in a wide variety of minerals including phosphorus, potassium and zinc. 100 grams of Maitake mushroom contain 0.3 mg of iron. What's more, it is a source of polysaccharides good for nourishing the immune system.

Agaricus Blazei Murill (ABM) Mushroom
100 gram of ABM mushrooms contain 9.65 mg of iron - the highest percentage of iron found in plant foods - that is easily absorbed by the human body. The ABM mushroom's perfect natural combination of nutrients provides the human body with a wholesome source of iron with no side effects.

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