The lack of iron - widespread worldwide and still underestimated.
As an essential trace element, iron is involved in many vital processes in the human body, especially in blood formation. In order for these processes to work in the daily routine, a certain amount of iron must be contained in the body.
Iron deficiency is widespread worldwide and one of the most common deficiency diseases. For many people, iron deficiency remains an unsolved problem: It is estimated that around 25% of the world's population is affected.
An iron deficiency develops gradually. First of all, the body uses its own iron stores. If the storage is exhausted, blood formation is impaired. This impairment manifests itself in typical iron deficiency symptoms and in a hemoglobin value that is too low, which is below the age- and gender-specific norm value.
Risk groups for iron deficiency or increased iron demand:
- Women due to menstruation
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Infants, children and adolescents
- Elderly people
- Blood donor
Functions of iron
Iron is one of the minerals. Since it occurs in traces in the body, similar to zinc, selenium, etc., one speaks of a trace element. The human organism relies on the regular supply of trace elements through food.
Iron is the key to an efficient body, because it is part of many important functional units, especially hemoglobin. This gives the red blood cells their color and transports the inhaled oxygen from the lungs through the bloodstream into all body cells. Iron is also involved in various metabolic functions.
- Iron makes us powerful and efficient
- promotes concentration
- keeps skin, hair and nails healthy
- strengthens the immune system
On the other hand, if iron is lacking in the body, there is an iron deficiency with physical and mental performance losses.
A visit to the doctor often brings clarity to the basic problem, but rarely helps to get a permanent grip on the problem. The iron supplements available in the pharmacy are often too highly concentrated and usually have to be stopped early due to severe stomach irritation.
What to do about iron deficiency?
In any case, medical treatment should take place if there is a pronounced iron deficiency. In order to prevent this from happening in the first place, a healthy and balanced diet is necessary. Almost all foods contain iron, but some only contain small amounts.
The best way to stay healthy and fit is to regularly provide the body with the necessary substances through nutrition. There are numerous foods that contain large amounts of iron. According to the reference quantities for the daily intake of vitamins and minerals, 14.4 mg iron per day is recommended in Germany. Let's take a look at a few plant-based foods that have a high iron content:
- 7,5 mg / 100g lentils
- 6,9 mg / 100g millet
- 6,1 mg / 100g white beans
- 4,8 mg / 100g pumpkin seeds
- 4,2 mg / 100g oats
- 3,6 mg / 100g spinach
Other plant-based and good iron-containing foods are: tofu (5.4mg), flax seeds (8.2mg), almonds (4.2 mg). Dark chocolate is also a good source of iron with a share of 4.3 mg / 100 g. This is mainly due to the cocoa it contains. Beef, on the other hand, only contains around 2.2 mg of iron, which is only half of that of dark chocolate. 100g of date chocolate covers 30% of the daily requirement.
IIs animal iron better than vegetable iron?
Animal foods contain the so-called heme iron. This is actually absorbed 2-3 times better than the vegetable non-heme iron. Red meat in particular has a higher iron content than white meat - chicken has only 0.7 mg / 100g. Animal giblets have the highest iron content, for example 18 mg / 100g in pork liver. However, since innards are rarely served on the table even by mixed food lovers, this is probably negligible.
Even though heme iron is generally better absorbed than non-heme iron, one of the biggest factors influencing iron absorption is not the type of iron, but the person's current iron status. For example, iron absorption is higher in pregnant women.
In addition, you can improve the iron absorption by certain plant foods. Vitamin C and beta-carotene support iron absorption. Vitamin C is especially found in fruit, e.g. Contain lemons or oranges. But also vegetables such as peppers, kale or broccoli have a high percentage of vitamin C. In order to consume a lot of beta-carotene, you should above all eat foods such as sweet potatoes and carrots.
Furthermore, there are studies that show that vegan people do not suffer from iron deficiency more often than mixed foodists.
What foods should you avoid if you have an iron deficiency?
There are also foods that inhibit iron absorption. These include, for example, coffee, milk products and black tea. If you don't want to do without these foods, you should take care to take them at a certain distance from iron-rich meals.
So in order to optimally cover your iron needs, you should make the diet very varied. And be careful to avoid certain foods and eat more foods.
We had our chocolates tested for certain nutritional values in the laboratory. And on the back, in addition to the nutritional values, have some nutrients such as listed the iron content. If you want to learn more, just click here.