Believe it or not, over a quarter of the world’s population has an iron deficiency. It’s actually a lot more common than you think!
Low iron levels can impact how oxygen is carried throughout the body and various bodily processes. It can also affect your energy levels.
Let’s take a look at the importance of iron in maintaining our energy levels, which helps us go about our daily lives.
Iron is an essential mineral that our bodies need to support multiple functions and processes.
Our bodies don't produce iron naturally, which is why it’s important to ensure we meet our daily requirements by including it in our diets.
One of the main uses of iron in the body is the production and maintenance of energy levels.
As iron is a vital contributor to the process of energy respiration, a lack of iron in our bodies can subsequently lead to fatigue, lethargy, and low-energy levels overall.
Children, ranging from babies to teenagers (especially teenage girls), are more prone to having low levels of iron. Women who are still menstruating or women who are pregnant also fall under this category. Athletes are also at risk of having low iron stores. These groups in particular, should be more conscious about their daily iron intake.
If you don’t have enough iron in your body, it will lead to iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia—this means your haemoglobin levels are so low that your blood can’t deliver enough oxygen to your cells. Some symptoms include tiredness, looking pale, breathlessness, dizziness and fatigue.
People with iron deficiency anaemia may have reduced immune function, making them more vulnerable to infections. And in children, iron deficiency anaemia can affect their growth and brain development.
While iron is important for us, we should only really take small amounts of it on a daily basis to maintain good health. According to the Australian Dietary Intake, this comes to around 1mg for healthy males and around 1.5 mg for menstruating women.
Of course, these values are not applicable across the board. When it comes to our daily iron intake, we have to consider factors such as age, gender, pre-existing conditions, and overall health.
Whilst the recommended dietary intake of iron might seem quite low, in reality we need to consume several times of that amount to reach adequate iron levels. This is because our bodies only end up absorbing a small amount of the iron from the food that we eat.
Nevertheless, we need to be careful about consuming too much iron. Remember to consult your doctor for a better understanding of how much iron you should consume per day.
Since iron is important to support our energy levels, here are various sources of iron that we can include in our diets:
Meat and eggs are great sources for iron in our diets because they are easily available. When it comes to meats—beef, lamb, ham, turkey, chicken, veal, pork, and liver are just some of the many options that you can consider.
Prawns, clams, scallops, oysters, tuna, sardines, haddock, and mackerel are great choices if you are looking to get your iron from seafood.
Besides providing iron, vegetables also contain other nutrients that can help us have a more balanced diet. Some vegetables with good concentrations of iron are: spinach, sweet potatoes, peas, broccoli, green beans, beet greens, dandelion greens, collards, kale and chard.
Certain grains are also great sources of iron if you’re looking for more variety in your daily diet. Whole wheat bread, enriched pasta, bran cereals, corn meal, rye bread, oats, enriched rice, and whole grains (quinoa, spelt, millet, and brown rice) are just some of the choices you have when it comes to breads and cereals.
Much like vegetables, fruits can also add some fresh flavour to your meals. However, some fruits have higher concentrations of iron than others. If you are planning to add iron in your diet through fruits, opt for strawberries, melons, raisins, dates, figs, prunes, dried apricots and dried peaches.
Our bodies rely on iron for energy, therefore we need to ensure that we always consume adequate amounts of it on a daily basis. Doing so can help us operate optimally in our daily life and keep any complications that may arise from iron deficiency at bay.
However, certain dietary restrictions and lifestyle factors might hinder your capacity to take in adequate amounts of iron through your diet alone. In such cases, consider taking iron supplements to ensure you meet your daily requirements of the nutrient.
When it comes to iron supplements, why not consider Vitable’s iron supplements? They are paired with Vitamin C to enhance absorption and reduce free radicals formed in the body. Not only is it gentle on the stomach, it also helps support energy production, brain health and immune system health.
Vitable’s vitamin subscription service can help keep you on the right track. Subscribe now to get your daily dose of personalised vitamins delivered right to your doorstep.
Please note that iron must only be taken upon recommendation by your healthcare professional.
Find out more about other supplements that can support energy levels in the body:
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.