Why Do We Need iron?
The first question is: why do we need iron? At the most basic level, it contributes to the production of red blood cells, which, not to put too fine a medical point to it, are good. When your body is unable to produce the required amount of red blood cells, you could face anemia.
How Much Iron Do I Need?
Men between the ages of 19 and 50 require 8mg of iron a day, with women in that age (prime childbearing years) requiring 18mg. These numbers go up during pregnancy and lactation.
After roughly 50, a man’s requirement stays the same, but a woman’s dramatically drops. After menopause, a woman also requires only as much iron as men do—just 8mg a day.
What Happens If I Get Too Much Iron?
When there is more iron than actually required, it has to be stored elsewhere, and it generally goes toward the organs.
This isn’t good. Too much of it can be toxic and may damage the liver, the heart, and the pancreas. An excess of iron can also be bad for your joints, leading to arthritis and chronic pain.
Older adults who have unusually high levels are also at increased risk for diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer.
Finding The Right Source Of Iron
What you want the most are foods that are high in iron that is easy to absorb. This includes: