There are a number of minerals and we have chosen to feature the most important ones. This week it is the turn of Iron. Minerals are inorganic substances that are found in rocks and mineral ore.
Obviously our bodies cannot produce inorganic substances so it is through our diet and supplements that we acquire these important nutrients. Minerals are important partners to vitamins supporting all the vital functions of our bodies.
Most people correctly associate Iron with blood. Iron comprises two proteins haemoglobin and myogloblin. Haemoglobin is connected to the production of red blood cells and myoglobin works with our muscle tissue. They are both responsible for storage and transportation of oxygen around the body.
EFSA accredit iron as contributing to:
- The normal function of red blood cells and haemoglobin
- The reduction of tiredness and fatigue
- The normal function of the immune system
- Normal cognitive function
Best Food Sources
The best sources of iron are organ meats, red meat, egg yolks and wheat grain.
If you are vegan or vegetarian iron supplies are harder to extract from vegetable sources because the phylates in plants partner the iron into compounds. Eat tomatoes and other sources of vitamin C to make it more accessible for your body.
Incorporate pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashew nuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, raisins, prunes, dates and parsley into your snacks and breakfasts which is really easy. Just top your cereals or porridge with a pre prepared mix that you enjoy. Alternatively, put it in a snack box and use when you need a boost.
As ever a diet of organic foods with plenty of vegetables and essential omega oils and minimal processed foods and alcohol will be a great starting point.
Who needs Iron?
- Teenage girls and women often need for extra iron especially if they have heavy periods but any menstruating woman may be subject to iron deficiency
- Women using IUD’s will also need extra iron due to the modest loss of blood and iron created by the IUD
- Those experiencing rapid growth will need additional iron
- Vegetarians and vegans will often need a supplement because of the aforementioned difficulty of extracting enough iron from plant foods
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women will most likely need additional iron
- Typically we need a diet of 2000 calories to get enough iron in our diet – this isn’t 2000 calories made up of processed foods!
- Elderly people who either have digestive issues or poor appetites can be susceptible to low iron levels
- Those who have an accident or experience blood loss will need to replenish their supplies
- Users of antacids will have their iron supplies depleted
- People who drink to excess will also deplete their iron supplies
Typically, men and post-menopausal women do not need iron as much and so are less likely to be deficient as long as they eat a healthy diet.
Signs of Iron Deficiency
- Feeling tired and weary all the time
- Looking pale and pasty
- Having no appetite
- Experiencing nausea
- A sore tongue
How can I get enough Iron?
Eating organic red meat and eggs gives you a great boost as far as iron supplies are concerned.
As already described if you are vegan or vegetarian then utilising vitamin C rich foods to make iron more accessible from plant sources makes your life a lot easier. Ensure that pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashew nuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, raisins, prunes, dates and parsley are a regular part of your repertoire.
Partners of Iron
Vitamin C is a big support aiding the absorption of iron as does vitamin E and Calcium. With calcium it is important not to eat too much as this can impede iron absorption. As ever the balance of these nutrients is delicate and hard to calculate. This is why we recommend supplements if you feel you have a deficiency because the formulas will have been created with the appropriate proportions.
Types of Iron
Iron can be a cause of constipation for some people so when you look at iron supplements you will see them described as gentle or non-constipating. Most supplements are made with iron bisglycinate a form which is gentle on our digestive systems.
We also offer liquid iron supplements which some people prefer as liquids can be easier to digest. Some such as our Vitabiotics product come with Zinc B12 minerals and vitamin B. If you are yeast and gluten free we can offer you Salus Yeast and Gluten Free liquid. We do our best to give you the best options and have products suitable for all diets!
Sadly, we will repeat this statement throughout this series of blogs. The nutrients in our modern diet do not compare to those of our ancestors. In previous times, our ancestors ate approximatley 20 times more nutrients than we do today.
The ancestral diet was comprised berries, fruits and other vegetables. Today, we eat processed ready meals that lack the nutrient content our bodies need. In addition, the intensive farming of our land means that nutrients are vastly depleted from the soil. It is going to take a long time to recover this situation. The processing of our food removes even more nutrients.
This means we are exposed to a nutrient deficiency. We simply do not get the nutrients we need to thrive in this modern world. It is our aim for our customers that they do not just survive but achieve optimal health. In our opinion, it is extremely difficult to achieve this without the help of supplements.