Good nutrition is the key to good mental and physical health. Eating a balanced diet is an important part of good health for everyone. The kind and amount of food you eat affects the way you feel and how your body works. To maintain your brain, muscle, bone, nerves, skin, blood circulation, and immune system, your body requires a steady supply of many different raw materials both macronutrients and micronutrients. You need large amounts of macronutrients – proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. And while you only need a small number of micronutrients – vitamins and minerals, failing to get even those small quantities may have adverse effects.
Iron is an essential micronutrient that is required by the human body in trace amounts to maintain and perform several bodily functions.
Importance of Iron:
- Almost two-thirds of the body iron is found in the hemoglobin present in the blood. Hemoglobin carries oxygen via your red blood cells through the body.
- Iron is also key for proper brain function. It helps create serotonin; the chemical that helps regulate your mood.
- Deficiency of iron leads to a decreased number of red blood cells in the body causing anemia. It can further lead to life-threatening conditions like organ failure.
- Iron supplies oxygen to your muscle tissues and facilitates its contraction, which is vital for maintaining muscle tone and elasticity.
- Iron is extremely important to strengthen your immune system. It promotes the growth of red blood cells (RBC), which potentially repair damaged cells and tissues by providing them oxygen.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of iron is approximately 16 to 18 mg/day for men and 12 mg/day for women. If you eat a well-balanced diet, you should be able to get sufficient quantities of iron from your diet, however, if you plan on taking a supplement, do talk to your doctor to find out how long you need to take an iron supplement.