20 Health Benefits of Iron : List Foods & Side Effects (No.9 Surprising You)
Iron is a mineral that played an important role in your body. Most of the iron in the body can be found in the hemoglobin of red blood cells and also in the myoglobin of muscle cells. This nutrient become very vital in the body because its ability to transport oxygen from respiratory organs like lungs to the other parts of the body. Besides, this nutrient will always maintain yourself to keep energetic throughout the day.
We bet that you already know that it is truly beneficial to have sufficient amount of iron in the body. But do you know all of the benefits of iron that you could get? Here are the benefits of iron for the health of your body that you should know.
- Enhance Hemoglobin Formation
The main benefits of having a sufficient iron in the body is mainly because it can stimulate the release of hemoglobin formation. The hemoglobin played a vital role in the transport of oxygen from respiratory organs into the other parts of the body. The addition of hemoglobin in the body would be very valuable since every people tends to lose lots amount of blood through some injuries, both internally and externally, or during the menstruation period for women. The addition of hemoglobin will prevent you from anemia.
- Regulate the Body Temperature
Iron is very beneficial to regulate your body temperature as per absorption capacity of your body. When your body temperature is regulated by the iron, it means that your temperature will be stable, which then enables the metabolic and enzymatic functions to maximize their performances on their best overall environments and temperature.
- Treating Iron Deficiency Anemia
When your body is lack of iron, you will be most likely to suffer from a disease called iron deficiency anemia. If you left it untreated, this would be really hazardous since you need a blood transfusion or intravenous iron therapy to cure it. If you want to be avoid from this disease, you need to make sure that you have sufficent amount of iron in your body. This disease is also the most common nutritional deficiency that could happen in the human body.
- Oxygen Carrier
This is one of the most important benefits that you could get from an iron. Iron is widely known for taking a huge part to transferring the oxygen from the lungs to another cells and tissues in your body because of the hemoglobin compounds that contained in it. It is very vital since all of the organ systems in your body needs oxygen to perform their own routine functions properly.
- Prevent Chronic Fatigue
Iron is one of the most important nutrients in your body to prevent you from unexplained chronic fatigue. This mineral could protect you from sudden fatigue because iron has a high amount of hemoglobin. This hemoglobin will transport the oxygen from the respiratory organs to the other parts of your body which will make you become more energetic, healthy, and fit, even in your diet. A study conducted at the University of Melbourne evidence that iron helps improve exercise performances on women.
- Energy Metabolism
This benefit is strongly related to the health benefits of iron that already stated in number 4. Iron is one of the nutrients which played a vital role in metabolism process. The hemoglobin contained in an iron can stimulate the metabolism process in the body, which then will transport an energy from the food that you just ate to the every part of the organ in your body.
- Improves Appetite
This is a good news for every parent that currently worried about their child’s appetite. Sometimes, or in most cases, parents found it really difficult to find the solution to improve the appetite of their child. There is a study conducted by The Journal on Nutrition on children from Kenyan primary school, which resulted that the iron supplement will improve the appetite and growth among the children.
- Relieves Pre-Menstrual Symptoms
Some studies conducted at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst shown that iron could be beneficial to relief some pre-menstrual symptoms that can cause some discomfort such as dizziness, mood swing, and hypertension. The result of that study is that women who enjoying iron-rich diet will be less likely to suffer from any symptoms that associated with pre-menstrual up to 40 percent compared with women who consume less iron-food in their diet.
- Healthier Pregnancy
A study report from Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews evidence that early or prenatal supplementation of iron will protect every woman during their pregnancy from maternal anemia. Also, iron supplementation will protect your baby from the risk of low birth weight. So, every pregnant woman is strongly suggested to consume food that contained high amounts of iron higher than women who are not getting pregnant. The absorption of the iron in the body would be very smooth if you combine it with foods that contain high amounts of Vitamin C.
- Prevents Hair Loss
Iron will also very beneficial for the health of your hair. Iron will help the transport of the oxygen from the respiratory organs to the other parts of your body, including your hair. Also, iron can stimulate the absorption of nutrients from the food and transport it to other parts of your body, including your hair. This will make your hair roots and scalp get enough oxygen and nutrients which then will strengthen your hair. A study conducted by European Journal of Dermatology evidence that woman who suffer from iron deficiency will experience an excessive of hair loss, especially in non-menopausal women.
- Improves Muscle Health
Iron is also very essential to keep the health of our muscle since iron will stimulate the release of myoglobin. Myoglobin is one of the muscle protein, which will carries the oxygen that transported by hemoglobin and then it will store the oxygen into the muscle cells. The oxygen that contained in the muscle cells will help your muscle to get a contraction. Without an iron, the possibilities that your muscle will lose its elasticity will be bigger.
- Prevents Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome is a neurologic movement disorder, which makes you want to move your legs repeatedly over and over again. This disorder can cause some problems related your sleep’s quality, because you will feel the need to move your legs over frequently. You will be most likely to suffer from this restless leg syndrome since this disease is widely associated with iron deficiency. There was a study conducted by Age and Aging which evidence that lack of iron in the body will stimulate this disease.
- Improves Brain Function and Developments
This is one of the most important benefits that you could get from an iron. Iron played a vital role to transport the oxygen to your blood, and thus the effects will be directly into your brain. Your brain uses for about 20 percent of blood oxygen, so it is very important that the oxygen transferred properly into your blood because a proper blood flow into the brain will triggers the cognitive activity and prevent your brain from cognitive disorders like Alzheimer, or even stroke.
A seminar in Pediatric Neurology also shown that the infants who suffering from iron deficiency will be most likely to have a problem related to their cognitive and neuropshycological development. So, women who are getting pregnant must ensure that they are consuming food that contain iron for the health of their infants.
- Boosts Your Concentration
This benefit is closely related with the health benefits of iron related to the brain’s development. If you have sufficient iron in the body, your blood supply into the brain will work properly, thus it will maintain your focus and concentration while you are doing your activity. Also, your cognitive and mental performance will be improved due to this proper blood supply into your brain.
- Boosts Your Immune System
You already know that iron contains hemoglobin, which then will help your body to transport the oxygen to the other parts of your body. This hemoglobin will then stimulate the activity of the red blood cells. Red blood cells are commonly known for its ability for providing the oxygen to damaged cells, organs, or tissues. This activity from red blood cells will protect you from any infections that could happen to your disease.
- Curing Anemia
Some studies show that iron could help to protect you against any diseases associated with anemia. First, iron will be beneficial for curing anemia in a pregnant woman. Pregnant women usually loses a lot amount of blood during the birth of their infants, and iron will supply a high amount of red blood cells to replace the lose blood.
Iron also could cure another type of anemia called predialysis anemia and renal failure anemia. Since these diseases could be very complicated and dangerous for your own safety, you can’t rely on iron alone, and you need to go to the doctor immediately.
- Promotes Better Sleep
It is revealed that sleep can help you to get a better sleep quality and treating insomnia since iron can regulating the circadian rhythms. Also, the proper blood circulation will make the blood pressure become more stable and you can relax more than before. Besides, iron could also relieve your restless leg syndrome that already explained above, which often make people become awake all the night.
- Enhance Glowing Skin
The lack of iron in the body will lead you to various diseases, such as anemia for example. In most cases, anemia will affect your overall appearance and your skin will be more pale than before, and also the dark circle will appears just under your eyes. The lack of iron will lead to hemoglobin deficiency, which means that the oxygen are not flowing properly. If the flowing of the oxygen is disrupted, your skin will look so pale, hence will affect your appearance. Consume foods that contain high amount of iron will make your skin become glowing and healthy of course.
- Healing Your Wounds
Iron also can make your wounds gone away from your body in short amounts of time. If you have a sufficient amount of iron in your body, the formation of red blood cells will occur suddenly and then they will providing the oxygen for the damage wounds. This proper oxygen flow will make your wounds gone away and allow you to experience a speedy recovery from it.
- Neurotransmitter Synthesis
It is also revealed that neurotransmitter could stimulate the synthesis of essential neurotransmitter such as serotonin and dopamine. Those neurotransmitters played a vital role in different activities in the human brains.
Types of Iron and List of Foods That Contains Iron
Well now you already know that you need a sufficient amount of iron since it is very important for your body. But, do you know what kind of foods that contain a high amount of iron? Before we take a look for that answer, first we need to know that there are 2 types of iron that you can use for your body, which are heme iron and non-heme iron.
Heme iron is can only be found in animal sources. You must consume these types of iron if you want to increase or maintaining the good iron levels in your body since your body absorbs most of the iron into your body from this heme iron. These are the foods that contain high amounts of heme iron that could be very beneficial for your body.
· Beef or chicken liver
|· Salmon||· Veal|
|· Tuna||· Sardines|
|· Cooked Beef||· Perch||
|· Cooked Turkey||· Ham||
Meanwhile, non-heme iron is can only be found in plant sources. These types of iron are less absorbed by the body. So, you need the addition of Vitamin C to make these types of iron can be absorbed in greater amounts to your body.
|· Cereals||· Tofu||· Whole grains|
|· Baked Potatoes||· Cooked beans||· Rice|
|· Broccoli||· Chickpeas||· Bread|
|· Apricot||· Spinach||· Pasta|
Iron Side Effects and Warnings
Although iron will give us a lot of benefit, there are also some side effects that can happen to you if you taking it excessively. Here are some symptoms that could happen to you if you taking iron excessively.
- Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
There is a study conducted at the University of Indiana evidence that if you consume heme iron that contained in a meat excessively, you will be more likely to suffer from heart disease up to 57 percent higher than before. So, you should consume heme iron in a moderate amount and thus, you need to switch it with non-heme iron since this type of iron doesn’t have any side effects.
- Risk of Cancer
A study conducted by Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention found a connection between iron and an increase in risk of having colorectal cancer. Consuming iron excessively will make you become at a high-risk possibility of suffering from cancer.
- Risk of Gastrointernal Problem
In most cases, the most common and practical solution to add some iron in the body is by taking iron supplements. But, these iron supplements might bring you a dangerous symptoms related to gastrointernal, such as diarrhea, constipation, and nausea.
- Risk of Neurodegenerative Diseases
It is true that iron would be very beneficial for the brain. But we need to agree and understand that everything, even the good one, wouldn’t be good if we taking it over-frequently. Iron is no exception. Excessive amount of iron can make your brain become susceptible from oxidative damage that could lead to diseases associated with neurodegenerative such as Alzheimer and Parkinson.
Now you already know the true benefits of iron. So, since iron is one of the most important nutrients in the body, and it played a vital role to transport the oxygen from respiratory organs to the other parts of your body, you need to ensure that you already have a sufficient amount of iron in your body. If you have an insufficient amount of iron, try to consume the iron-rich foods that already described above.