Although iron has its origin in nature and is known to many exclusively as metal, it is an important part of our body. Iron has a central function in our human organism, which must not be undersupplied under any circumstances.
In the following article, we have objectively summarised which functions these are, why you should definitely consume iron-containing foods, and which symptoms you should pay attention to, based on scientific sources. You will also get some tips for your diet to keep an eye on your iron balance.
- 1 The Essentials in Brief
- 2 Ferrous foods: what you should know
- 3 What do we need iron for in the body?
- 4 What happens to us without iron?
- 5 How does an iron deficiency come about?
- 6 What foods can I eat that contain iron?
- 7 What role does iron play in terms of my health?
- 8 What options do I have in the event of an iron deficiency?
- 9 What alternatives are there to foods containing iron?
- 10 Conclusion:
The Essentials in Brief
- Iron is present in everybody and is responsible for supplying our organs with oxygen. Without iron, there would be an undersupply in some areas of our body.
- Ferrous foods may not be familiar to everyone, but everyone will eat them. They appear frequently in normal everyday life and are an important building block for a good and healthy diet.
- Well-known symptoms of iron deficiency are difficulty sleeping and fatigue. Since the organs have a lack of energy due to less oxygen, they can no longer regenerate properly, which normally happens during sleep. The consequences are tiredness in everyday life.
Ferrous foods: what you should know
Iron has an important function in our body that should by no means remain undersupplied. In the following article, we will explain in detail what iron does in our body and what happens to you without iron. You will also get a list and overview of iron-containing foods that will do your body good in terms of iron balance.
What do we need iron for in the body?
Many people may only know iron as metal from the industry. Without iron, however, we humans would not be what we are today. In our body, the metal is responsible for ensuring that the oxygen that we transport into the lungs through breathing is carried on to all organs. But how does it work?
Iron deficiency is one of the world’s leading risk factors for disability and death, affecting an estimated 2 billion people.
The beginning and the end of our iron metabolism take place in the bone marrow and the spleen. Bound to proteins, iron circulates through our body and is responsible for the synthesis of hemoglobin.
Hemoglobin is responsible for the production of new red blood cells and it is precisely these bodies that carry oxygen through our bodies.
Without this oxygen, our organs would be undersupplied and would not be able to function properly.
What happens to us without iron?
As you have just learned, iron is largely responsible for the oxygen supply to the organs in the human body. But what happens if this supply does not take place sufficiently?
Like the body’s vitamins, organs need energy in the form of oxygen to function and work. If this supply is limited, the body uses up energy without gaining new energy. He thus draws from energy reserves.
If the body constantly receives too little iron and thus too little energy, this is noticeable in that the organs work too little and processes in the body are exposed.
Iron is therefore largely responsible for a functioning body and an undersupply should definitely be ruled out.
How does an iron deficiency come about?
Everyone has different nutritional needs. So does the iron in our bodies. So, someone may need a lot of iron, while another person needs less.
Regular iron absorption occurs through food. Thus, someone with a high iron requirement may not be able to meet this requirement with a normal food intake.
Thus, it can be said that an iron deficiency cannot always be linked to the fact that you have not consumed enough iron-containing products. If you have a high need for iron from the ground up, it is definitely difficult for you to meet it.
What foods can I eat that contain iron?
An increase in iron-containing products is usually the first form of treatment for iron deficiency. For this purpose, it is recommended that you focus your diet more on iron-containing products, but which ones are they exactly?
|Type of food||Examples|
|Animal products||Meat, egg yolks, liver|
|Fruit||Legumes, pumpkin seeds|
|Grain||Sesame, oatmeal, wheat muesli|
There is a lot more to these foods. Basically, iron is found in very many foods, but not all of them have a high dose of the metal.
With these examples, however, you have several good iron donors for your body at a glance. If you have problems with your iron balance, it is highly recommended to consult a doctor and get an expert opinion. They will also be able to recommend foods that are good for your iron balance.
What role does iron play in terms of my health?
An undersupply of the organs is never healthy. Nevertheless, a slight undersupply of your iron requirement does not have an immediate effect on your health.
A well-known symptom of iron deficiency is sleep problems or constant fatigue.
Since the organs are supplied with less and less oxygen over time, they also have less energy to work, but also to regenerate.
Lack of sleep or sleep problems can be a sign of too little iron in the body, which obviously does not have a positive effect on the overall health of your body.
What options do I have in the event of an iron deficiency?
First, a doctor should determine how severe your undersupply is. Then there are several ways to replenish your iron balance.
- Oral iron: Oral iron describes a method by which iron salts are added to the body before or after a normal meal. However, this method cannot be used for every person, as it occasionally leads to intolerance.
- Intravenous iron: In this method, fluids are injected into the body that contains metered amounts of iron. This form of treatment is increasingly used when the oral ironing method does not work.
- Ingestion of iron-rich foods: Another option is to increasingly focus your diet on foods that contain iron. The best-known foods in this category are, for example, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, egg yolks and legumes.
What alternatives are there to foods containing iron?
There are several forms of iron intake to support the body’s iron balance. The most popular forms are then listed and explained:
Supplements & Medicines:
Supplements and medications can also meet your iron needs. However, you have to pay attention to how much you need to take them.
- Oral iron → In this method, iron salts are taken orally in small amounts. Although these are highly concentrated, they can be taken in doses according to your needs and without hesitation. A side effect of the iron salts can mean incompatibility. This is usually noticeable through intestinal problems.
- Intravenous iron → The intravenous iron method describes the process of injecting high doses of fluids into the body intravenously. This method is mostly used when oral iron treatment has failed.
Animal products also naturally contain iron, so you should consume these as a non-vegetarian or non-vegan.
- Meat and proteins → in principle, a piece of meat and products containing meat are good sources of iron for the body. Nevertheless, you should be careful not to replenish your iron balance exclusively with meat
From a medical point of view, iron deficiency is not a positive aspect when looking at the human body. Iron has an important function in our body system, which must not be absent. Even so, iron deficiency is a common problem, but it needs to be treated properly.
You should therefore keep an eye on your iron balance and consult a doctor if you have any questions about food supplements or dosages. It is also important to note that every person has a different iron balance and therefore needs different amounts of calories. A doctor can also explain this topic to you specifically in relation to your body.