There are almost one million children and 10 million women that are estimated to be deficient in iron.
How important is iron?
Females are more prone to needing iron supplements than males. This is because as teenagers, females need extra iron to promote growth. And when their menstrual cycle starts, women will need to replenish the iron lost during this time each month.
Having enough iron in your body is important because it’s chief role is to carry oxygen throughout your blood. You can measure how much oxygen a person is getting to his body by how much iron exists. If there is not enough iron then fewer red blood cells are made and when red blood cell counts are low, a person can become anemic.
Women that are breast-feeding or pregnant are also candidates for the need of extra iron because, like most of their vitamins and minerals, the iron is going through their body and into their baby.
And of course, growing babies too are also prime candidates. They need all the extra iron that they can get. They are growing so fast that if they fall back and become iron deficient, their mental development will not be at the appropriate levels. And unfortunately, this mental damage may not be reversible.
What are some natural sources of iron?
Here are just a few examples of the types of foods that contain iron. As you can tell, it is not that hard to choose from the many varieties of food in order to get enough iron in your diet. These foods are: kidney beans, peanut butter, raisins, broccoli, beef, brussels sprouts, peanuts and almonds, lima beans, liver, chicken, potatoes, oysters, kale, black beans, molasses, and prune juice.
It’s best, however, to seek out foods that contain iron naturally before attempting supplementation. Iron can be found in meat as well as from plant sources such as fruits and vegetables. It is important to note that iron derived from meat sources, which is called “heme iron”, is absorbed more readily by the body than iron that comes from plant sources.
Statistics show that the average American diet is approximately 2500 calories per day. Out of these 2500 calories, there is about 15 mg of iron that a person is getting from their food intake. This is just a guide of course, and you may eat more or less. If you are eating less than 2000 calories a day, iron supplementation may be necessary.