Is Your Iron Intake Up to Par?

Your iron consumption may not be something you consciously think about every day like Vitamin C or calcium, but iron is an essential nutrient to your daily diet and to your overall health. So, are you getting enough?


Why You Need Ample Iron

Iron is necessary to produce hemoglobin, a protein found in the red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. Thus, when the body lacks iron the result is altered hemoglobin production and less oxygen supplied to muscles and tissues. This is why when you have an inadequate supply of iron you may feel tired and rundown, irritable, have headaches, and may have trouble concentrating. These symptoms of iron deficiency can make for some miserable days at work and at home.

A lack of iron in your body could progress into iron deficiency or, more severely, iron deficiency anemia. Furthermore, untreated iron deficiency may cause cardiovascular symptoms; if low iron is preventing your organs and muscles from getting the oxygen they need, your heart will work harder to compensate. This puts extra strain on your heart which can cause heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat.


How Much Iron You Need

Health Canada recommends the following dietary allowance for iron intake (mg per day):

Age/Life Stage Male Female
7 to 12 months 11 11
1 to 3 years 7 7
4 to 8 years 10 10
9 to 13 years 8 8
14 to 18 years 11 15
19 to 50 years 8 18
51 years and over 8 8
Pregnancy 27


What You Can Do

  1. If you’re unsure of how much iron you are getting from your current diet, read my article How Much Iron Are You Getting from Your Diet for a general idea.
  1. Increasing your dietary iron intake is not as difficult as you think! Check out my article, 12 Iron Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet Pronto for some great ideas on what to eat to enhance your iron consumption.
  1. It’s one thing to eat iron-rich foods, but if you’re really trying to boost your iron you’ll also want to ensure that you are absorbing as much as possible. Read my article, Ways to Enhance Your Iron Absorption for some great tips.
  1. If your doctor has suggested that you add an iron supplement to the mix, you might want to check out my article, A Quick and Easy Guide to Choosing the Right Iron Supplement to help you along the decision making process.


Content and advice provided on The Iron Maiden is for information purposes only and should not serve as a substitute for a licensed health care provider, who is knowledgeable about an individual’s unique health care needs

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