Iron is a mineral which is important for the development of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is needed for oxygen transport in the blood and for metabolism. Iron in food comes in two forms: heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is found in animal products and non-heme iron in vegetable products.
Iron is mainly found in beef, lamb, fish, potatoes, legumes, vegetables, fruits, whole wheat bread, nuts and seeds.
- Beneficial effect on the development of red blood cells and hemoglobin and the oxygen transport in the body.
- Contributes to normal intelligence and problem solving skills.
- Keeps the mind clear and is good for memory and concentration.
- Supports energy levels and helps with fatigue.
- Plays a role in the process of cell renewal.
- Positive effect on the immune system.
In case of a shortage of iron, symptoms like dizziness and impaired concentration can occur. An obvious iron shortage leads to anemia.
An excessive iron content in the body can lead to chronic fatigue or damage to organs, such as the liver, intestines and heart. People with the genetic disorder hemochromatosis can easily take too much iron.
- Coffee, tea and calcium reduce the uptake of both heme iron and non-heme iron. Meat, fish and vitamin C increase the uptake of non-heme iron.
- On average, heme iron is better absorbed by our body than non-heme iron.
- Using iron in the diet is approximately 5,000 years old and originated in the Middle East.
- In the periodic table of elements, iron has the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. The color is silvery.
- Iron is a trace element. This means that only very small quantities are needed (micrograms to milligrams).