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The Real Benefits of Iron

The Essential Energy Booster

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  • I rarely eat red meat, am a big fan of legumes, whole grains, dark leafy greens, seafood and some poultry. Because I'm trying to increase both my protein and iron intakes, I did have a small steak last night. I did great on protein, but bombed on iron! It's tricky to balance certain nutritional needs while at the same time staying under my calorie limit. So the quest continues to find the right balance. I might consider a supplement at some point. Was anemic once and borderline 2-3 times, and it's a drag to recover from.
  • Although the picture shows beef I did not get the impression that I have to give up vegetarianism in order to get iron. As for celtchic's comment, ranking foods in order of iron content isn't the whole picture. Meat sources of iron are heme-iron, a more readily-absorbed form of iron. The vegetable sources are non-heme iron, which are less easily absorbed but still healthy. As previous posters wrote, vitamin C can enhance absorption, and other factors can block absorption (phytates like in leafy greens, tannins in tea, and other factors). Iron supplementation should be individualized, like the article says - talk to your doctor before starting supplementation.
  • Why does every article on iron show a slab of beef? Beef is low in iron compared to so many other options! This isnt a vegetarian comment, beef as the poster child for iron is just totally wrong! Check out worlds healthiest foods : www.whfoods.com and look look up iron, you'll be losing out if you rely on beef.

    Top options:
    Spinach
    Collard greens
    Tofu
    Blackstrap mollasses
    Asparagus
    Thyme
    Turmeric
    Oregano
    Lentils
    Sesame seeds
    Venison
    Olives
    Shrimp
    Scallops
    Beets
    .....

  • MACARAGA
    I recently wanted to donate blood so I didn’t exercise, ate beef and drank lots of water that day. I thought that was enough since I had donated blood before. Well, I was denied because I had low red blood cell or not enough hemoglobin in my blood. It was due to an iron deficiency. I was instructed to eat more grains and beef for at least 2 weeks before trying again. So having a healthy iron diet will help you and others. Be healthy for everyone, you never know.
  • Iron is good, but I think we can get it naturally. We can get if from spinach and legumes, grains etc. I recently watched Dr. Bernard on the Dr. Oz show regarding supplements with added 'metals' and it was an eye opener! Just search for Dr. Bernard on the Dr. Oz show regarding Alzheimer's. I am on a Vegan Challenge right now and love it! Didn't think I would and I add in nutritional yeast to soups or as a cheese substitute as some of the nutritional yeasts have B vitamins, which help my energy levels and if I want to get really crazy, I just take a low dose B-12 supplement. (Nothing like 5000% because that's a lot!)
  • It would also be helpful to mention that vitamin C aids iron absorption. As someone who suffers from anaemia from tim,e to time, I was advised to make sure that I drank fruit juice with my tablets, and to make sure to have plenty of vit C rich veggies on my plate along with my iron source. :-) I was also advised not to drink tea or coffee close to mealtimes.
  • At my age, I am menopausal now over 16 years, and do NOT need extra iron in my diet usually. I take a multiple without IRON. Still get alot of natural Iron in spinach and my roast beef sandwhich at Subway! But too much IRON for Seniors is NOT always good. Iron that is prescribed by MD's is NOT well absorbed at all. More important to get your Iron from foods!!
  • I just wanted to say that when I was having a lot of problems that were getting bad, including no energy, not sleeping well, and what appeared to be low sugar attacks, I was not evaluating intakes such as iron or B-12, which we only get from meats (or beans) or anything where it is added in. Iron wasn't the problem, it is actually rare to have low iron when you are heavy (I don't see why, but so I heard). However, B-12 deficiencies are very common. Recently my sister was diagnosed with the same problem (of course I thought it was because of her diabetes).

    When I started taking a B-12 supplement (because I reviewed my eating habits using the Spark counters), I started feeling better. Everyone should look at that. I wasn't even getting half the B12 recommended for 100% daily value, let alone the 200% that fitness and health advocates speak for.
  • If your physician has prescribed iron, PLEASE talk with her/him before deciding not to take it. Most won't prescribe something unless there's a good reason for it. In the case of anemia, it really can have VERY serious consequences, so don't make a decision on your own based on one brief article. If you are seriously anemic you may have to take more than the usually recommended amounts for a while to build your levels up again. If you have problems with iron tablets upsetting your system there are many different formulations that are easier on the stomach, etc. - talk with your doctor about options.
  • I bought a cast-iron skillet, and started using it to cook meats. Not only does the meat come out nicer with more roasty flavor then my non-stick, I found that microscopic transfers increases iron in food too! Just take care of the pan, keep it well seasoned and it will last for years.
  • TAFFIN2000
    I have low iron for many years. I use to take suppliments, but they never seemed to bring my iron up to where it should be. Now I add blackstrap molasses to my coffee once or twice a day and my iron is much better than when taking pills! I am amzaed and pleased!
  • Wondering if there will be any followup to this article. There was a lot of good discussion points brought up by different people..
  • Choice, personal choice is important in issues of sources of protein.
  • I object to the photo included with this article because it just reinforces the myth that you need to eat red meat in order to be healthy - when quite the opposite is true. Further eating leafy greens and whole grains such as millet and quinoa is not only much healthier for the consumers but also for the planet.
  • This scares and confuses me... I was just diagnosed with very low iron, the doctor says I should have between 80-300mg in my blood, and I only have 27... so I was prescribed a daily iron vitamen, and the daily dosage of it is THREE HUNDRED mg!!!! Much more than what many of you are saying is harmful!!

    I think the high dosage is given with an assumption that you're going to continue your old eating patterns... I think I'm going to not take the vitamen, and just change my eating patterns to drinking less milk after high iron meals.

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