If you were to list the most important supplements that we need daily I think it would be safe to say that the one listed least would be iron. Of course, the popular ones are Vitamin A, B, C, D, and E. It seems iron is just an afterthought. I remember when I was a child, I used to eat cold cereal and read the box while eating. At the top it would say something to the effect “fortified with 12 vitamins and iron.” That was the extent of which I remember taking in iron.
Iron is essential for people of all ages. Infants between the ages of 1-3 need 7mg a day; children between the ages of 4-8 need 10mg. The average male needs 8-11mg of iron a day. A girl between the ages of 9-18 needs from 8-11mg. Woman between the ages of 19-50 need 18mg a day. Why is it important that we take in this valuable mineral every day? Here are three reasons:
Iron Necessary for the Production of Blood
The blood is the fluid of life. It is made up millions of red blood cells which deliver oxygen and remove waste throughout the body so that it can function. Iron works in conjunction with protein to make the hemoglobin in red blood cells. The body stores iron in the liver, spleen, and bone marrow for continued use. The average red blood cell lasts about 120 days, so this extra storage of iron is necessary in the development of new red cells. Despite living in a developed country, without enough iron, you can still develop iron deficiency anemia. Shockingly, over 2 billion people suffer from this disorder. So iron ensures that our body will have a high red blood cell count.
Iron Important for Pregnant Women
Did you know that a woman’s iron requirement doubles during pregnancy? If her reserve is low, which is true of many women in developing countries, she can acquire iron deficiency anemia. This condition can be worsened by repeated pregnancies, as the time gap between them is not large enough for the body to replenish the iron reserve. A pregnant woman needs 27mg of iron in her daily diet; one third more than the average woman.
Iron Deficiency and Depression
There is at times a biological basis for depression. Deficiencies caused by an unbalanced diet can cause depression. Some people have found that they were once emotionally stable but found their level of emotion dropped so low that they became depressed. They had trouble sleeping, or they lost interest in eating, or even being around their closest friends. Doctors are finding that when a person becomes iron-deficient, they can portray a state of depression accompanied with low levels of energy. However, once iron is reintroduced into the diet their period of depression is suppressed and their energy level has been revitalized.
Easy Way to Meet Your Daily Requirement
If you have symptoms of iron deficiency there are some real inexpensive and delicious ways to ensure that your iron levels will be brought back to normal. There are several, easily attainable foods that can give us our daily requirement of iron; one of which is oatmeal. Did you know that eating just one packet (28g) of instant oatmeal gives you almost half of your daily iron requirement? For as long as you would wait for water to boil, you can make this delicious recipe that includes raw oatmeal:
1 c. of raw oatmeal
2 TBSP cinnamon (or to taste if you feel that is too much)
1/3 c. of craisins
1/2 c. of plain yogurt
Drizzle honey over the top to taste and mix.
After mixing, it should resemble loose granola. This can be eaten daily for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. With it you not only receive your daily supply of iron but the oatmeal and cinnamon are both known to lower cholesterol, and yogurt is a probiotic for intestinal health. Oatmeal bars are excellent choices as well.
So make sure you take the time to ensure that you are getting your daily requirement of iron. You have plenty of options but there are inexpensive choices as well. Oatmeal is one way that can help reduce the symptoms of iron deficiency.