Iron and our Health
- Do you feel tired easily?
- Do you always yawn, despite sleeping for 8 hours daily?
- Do you always grasp for breathe after making up a short flight of stairs even when you are medically fit?
If it is a “Yes” to these questions, you may be lacking in iron.
This is especially true for woman.
Why Do We Need Iron?
Iron is an important component for metabolism of “heme” molecule which is associated to oxygen binding protein. It plays a major role in carrying oxygen in our red blood cells. The chemical reaction contributed by iron enables the removal of carbon dioxide accumulated in our cells. It allows the cells in our body to be oxygenated.
Oxygenation of cells in our body is especially important as it plays an important role for many chemical reactions in our body.
How Does It Work?
Researchers have found that about 70 percent of body’s iron can be found in a protein found in our red blood cells. There are two major types; those found in our blood are called haemoglobin and in our muscle are called myoglobin. Although both haemoglobin and myoglobin serve similarly, haemoglobin is used to transport oxygen over a large distance from our lungs to all tissues in our body, whereas myoglobin is located in our muscle where it serves as a storage reservoir of oxygen.
The haemoglobin reversibility bind to four hemes and myoglobin reversibly binds to one heme, these give it the ability to bind and release oxygen in the appropriate areas of the body.
Why Do We Feel Fatigue?
When your body isn’t able to get enough oxygen, that’s when you will get the feeling of fatigue and need to catch your breath. It is a signal to tell you that you should rest, if you are doing some excessive exercise or it may also be a signal that you are not getting enough iron.
Where Can You Get Them?
Iron can be found in most of the food that we eat. They can be both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, which is classified as heme or non-heme iron respectively.
- Vegetarian can always have their iron intake from soy beans, cereals, whole grain bread, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, dry fruits and especially spinach which is a great source of iron.
- Non-vegetarian can basically get their iron content from red meat or liver etc. But care has to be taken when consuming too much meat as some do come with unhealthy amount of fats etc.
Consuming Vitamin C rich food can greatly enhance the iron absorption, while calcium may reduce the iron absorption. Care have to be taken that too much or too little of a nutrient is usually not a healthy way of living.
A balance diet is the most important when eating healthy. Overdose of iron or any nutrients can be hazardous to your body. Consultation of your nutritionist or health professionals on your daily nutritional intake is the wisest choice when eating health, it is especially important for people who have Iron Deficiency or are Pregnant.