21 Impressive Health Benefits of Iron
What are the Health Benefits of Iron?
How to get the required amount of Iron for your body?
All these questions might be popping in your mind if you are diagnosed with IRON deficiency or hear about it. Today we will discuss iron levels, causes of its deficiency, iron-rich foods and its health benefits.
A good diet supplies the body with all the right amounts of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals to facilitate the effective working of the tissues and organs in the body. Not consuming a healthy diet can lead to a lot of health complications like decreased immunity, fatigue, disease, and poor performance. Whereas on the other extreme end of the spectrum lies overconsumption of food which can lead to increased body mass, known as obesity.
What is Iron?
Iron is an important mineral required by the body and around 70% of it is found in the blood in the form of hemoglobin and myoglobin. Hemoglobin is the major carrier of oxygen to the cells in the body. 5% is found in some proteins and as a part of some important enzymatic reactions. Lastly, the final 25% is found in the form of ferrite stored in the body’s cells. (1)
Health Benefits of Iron
It is without a doubt that iron has a host of health benefits and is very important for the functioning of the human body. Listed below are some important health benefits of iron.
1. Anaemia Treatment
Anemia is a deficiency of iron in the body. Women are more prone to get anemia than men. Anemia is the most common deficiency related disease on this planet and affects millions worldwide. Consumption of iron in the form of iron-rich foods or supplements is important for its treatment. (2)
2. Boosts Immunity
Red blood cells rich in hemoglobin are the only carries of oxygen-rich blood to cells, tissues and muscles in the body. The immune system needs oxygen for its self-healing process and hence, consumption of iron leads to a stronger immune system. Vitamin C rich foods also help in boosting the immunity levels.
3. Boosts Haemoglobin Formation
As mentioned previously, 70% of the iron in the body is found in the form of hemoglobin. Without any doubt, iron is a major requirement in the formation of this precious biological compound. During menstruation, women lose a lot of blood. Hence, consumption of iron is vital to the formation of new hemoglobin in the body.
4. Oxygen Carrier
Hemoglobin is the major carrier of oxygen to various cells in the body and iron is its major component. Consumption of iron is important for the transfer of oxygen around the body and oxygen is required by the body for all the vital functions. This is one of the best health benefits of iron.
5. Treats Insomnia
Deficiency of iron can lead to lesser red blood cell count in the body and this, in turn, affects the blood pressure which can lead to insomnia. Iron is also known to improve the circadian rhythms and hence improve sleep habits in people.
6. Restless Leg Syndrome
Iron is present in the myoglobin of muscle tissue and its deficiency can lead to muscle spasms. This, in turn, can lead to restless leg syndrome. Proper consumption of iron is one way to cure this condition.
7. Improves Muscle Function
Iron is a major component of muscle tissue and it facilitates the supply of oxygen, which is necessary for muscle contraction. Deficiency of iron can lead to decreased tone, elasticity and muscle weakness. Iron is important for the proper functioning of muscles.
Here is an informative video from NPS MedicineWise
8. Boosts Metabolism
Iron carries the energy from processed food to all the cells and tissues in the body and hence plays an important role in the process of metabolism. Consumption of iron is vital for the proper metabolism of consumed food.
9. Healthy Pregnancy
During pregnancy, a woman’s body generates extra blood and red blood cells in order to support the growing fetus. Deficiency of iron during this phase can lead to developmental issues in the baby that can impact his/her cognitive as well as overall developmental.
Low iron content can also increase the chances of premature delivery. Iron is important for a healthy pregnancy, mother and baby.
Also Read: Prenatal Yoga Poses, Asanas and Sequences
10. Improves Brain Function
The brain uses around 20% of the oxygen in the blood and since iron is the major transporter of it around the body, good iron levels have been known to boost the functioning of the brain. Good flow of oxygenated blood into the brain improves cognitive function and decreases the chances of developing Dementia or Alzheimer’s later in life.
11. Good for Heart
Severe deficiency of iron can lead to the faster pumping of the heart as it tries to compensate for the lack of red blood cells. This condition is known as tachycardia. This can then lead to the enlargement of the heart and eventually failure. Iron is important in keeping the heart pumping at normal levels.
12. Body Temperature Regulation
Iron has a major role in regulating body temperature. The self-regulation of temperature by the body can be impaired when there is a deficiency of iron. Good iron levels help the body to stay at the optimum temperature.
13. Increased Energy
Good flow of oxygen and metabolized energy to the cells leads to good energy levels. Low levels of iron affect vital functions of the body. Hence, iron good iron levels lead to better energy levels.
14. Improves Concentration
When the brain is supplied with good amounts of oxygen, its cognitive functioning and reasoning ability is optimum. As stated above, iron is vital to the transport of oxygen to the brain and hence a better oxygen supply also means improved concentration levels.
15. Reduces Fatigue
Low levels of iron result in fatigue. A good supply of iron leads to more hemoglobin production and reduction in fatigue.
16. Cures Dizziness
Headaches and dizziness are the major symptoms of iron deficiency. When there are low levels of iron in the body, lesser oxygen is transported around to the cells and tissues. This weakens the body and especially the brain. Consumption of iron is known to, therefore, help with dizziness.
17. Cures Chronic Diseases
Iron is a major component of several processes in the body and its deficiency can lead to a lot of complications. Good iron consumption is hence known to cure some chronic conditions like renal failure anemia, some intestinal and excretory system conditions.
18. Improves Oral Health
One of the major symptoms of anemia is weak and bleeding gums. Anemia effect is reduced by improving iron consumption. It helps improve oral health by improving the quality of the gums. Consumption of calcium-rich foods is also very crucial for maintaining good oral health.
19. Helps in General Fitness
Deficiency of iron weakens the immune system and decreases athletic performance. Good supply of iron leads to better oxygen supply and this leads to better performance and fitness.
20. Helps in the Treatment of Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath is a symptom of severe anemia and this happens due to chronic fatigue and tiredness. Consuming iron levels helps treat shortness of breath.
21. Healthy Skin
Iron is an important element required for the regeneration of skin, hair, and nails. Good iron levels are important to maintain the health of all the dermal layers of skin. It improves the blood circulation to the skin, thereby providing the skin with the healthy flush and improves the tone. I helping in getting a glowing skin.
Iron Deficiency Symptoms
Deficiency of iron occurs when the body has less iron in the body. Iron deficiency symptoms include,
- Extreme Tiredness and Fatigue.
- An unusually pale and lifeless pallor.
- Shortness of breath.
- Headaches and dizziness.
- Heart palpitations.
- Unhealthy hair and skin.
- Weak gums and soreness of tongue.
- Restless legs.
- Brittle fingernails.
- Unexplained anxiety.
- Iron Rich Foods
One of the best ways to combat the deficiency of iron naturally is to consume iron-rich foods. Some iron-rich foods are:
- Red Meats
- Certain types of fish like mackerel.
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach.
- Dried Fruits
Consume a healthy and balanced diet for the proper functioning of the body. Live stress-free and happy!