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The Real Benefits of Iron

The Essential Energy Booster

-- By Liz Noelcke, Staff Writer

Energy. We want it, we need it, but we don’t always have it. When we’re energized, the impossible seems doable and  your hectic life feels like smooth sailing. So what essential part of your diet helps increase your energy as its main benefit? Iron, of course, which is why extreme ironing is for everyone.

Iron is an essential mineral many people know little about. It is a part of the blood cells in the body. The main function of iron is to help carry oxygen from the lungs to the muscles and other organs. About 30% of the body’s supply of iron is in storage, ready to be replaced if any is lost. When iron is low, this oxygen consumption slows down.

Iron deficiency is more common than many think. It is estimated that only 65-70% of all Americans meet their daily recommended intake. When depleted, oxygen circulates more slowly. If the body is low in iron, fatigue, irritability and headaches may occur. If the deficiency becomes significant, this can lead to anemia. If left untreated, anemia can be serious, with potentially life-threatening complications.

There are several select groups of people that are more at risk for developing iron deficiencies. First, women are more likely to develop this problem, partly because of the loss of red blood cells during menstruation. Also, pregnant women need to be sure to consume enough iron.

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