Because iron is an essential mineral that keeps you feeling your best, there are many reasons why you need iron. Getting adequate amounts of iron will help you stay healthy and energetic. However, an iron deficiency can cause fatigue, weakness, and anemia. Your nails can also become brittle, and your metabolism may even slow down if you do not have enough iron. Clearly, an iron deficiency can cause a variety of problems, indicating there are many reasons why you need iron.
1. Healthy Red Blood Cells
One of the reasons why you need iron is to build healthy red blood cells. Iron is the primary component of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. In fact, iron is so important for hemoglobin that 70 percent of the iron in your body is found in hemoglobin! If you do not have enough iron, your body can’t produce enough hemoglobin, which can result in your feeling tired and possibly becoming anemic. To prevent yourself from becoming anemic, make sure you are getting the recommended 18 milligrams of iron a day if you are an adult female and 8 milligrams a day if you are an adult male.
2. Strong Muscles
While the vast majority of iron is found in hemoglobin, there is some iron found in muscles. Your body needs iron to build strong muscles. It helps your muscles retain their tone and elasticity. Also, the oxygen that is carried by hemoglobin is crucial for proper muscle contraction.
3. Cognitive Function
Iron helps your brain function properly by forming hemoglobin. Your brain needs oxygen to function, which is evident by the fact that it uses 20 percent of your blood oxygen. When your brain has enough oxygen and blood flow, cognitive activity increases and new neural pathways can even be created. However, this can only happen if your body has the iron it needs to create oxygen carrying hemoglobin.
4. Improved Mood
One surprising health benefit of iron is it can improve your mood. Iron is an important nutrient for neurotransmitter synthesis, especially dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These are all neurotransmitters that are crucial for good mood.
5. Healthy Immune System
Iron is one of many nutrients that will help keep your immune system strong and functioning properly. An iron deficiency can prevent your immune system from responding to invaders. However, too much iron can also keep your immune system from working properly, which is why it is important to get just the right amount.
6. Regulate Body Temperature
If you find yourself getting cold frequently, it could be because you are low in iron. Iron helps regulate body temperature by making sure enough oxygen is traveling throughout your body. Having the proper body temperature is not only important so you stay comfortable, it is also important for metabolic functions and getting enough iron will help ensure your body temperature is regulated.
One of the most important benefits of iron is it helps you stay energized. An iron deficiency can cause anemia, which results in fatigue. Since you want to have energy, it is important to make sure you are getting enough.
Iron is an essential mineral that you don’t want to become deficient in. Thankfully, there are plenty of iron rich foods that help you meet your daily 18 milligrams if you are an adult female and 8 milligrams if you are an adult male. Eating meat and seafood is one way to get plenty of iron. However, if you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can also get iron from spinach, legumes, whole grains, and dried fruit. Just be sure to eat your plant based iron foods with vitamin C rich foods, which help your body absorb the iron better. What iron rich foods do you like to eat?