Our lives today are extremely busy. Considering that we’re always on the go, exhaustion and fatigue seem like everyday problems which we often attribute to our hectic schedules. However, these can also be caused by a deficiency of iron. Iron is one of the key nutrients your body requires to perform its daily activities. You will learn the benefits of iron here.
Its main functions include the metabolization of proteins and the production of hemoglobin, enzymes, and red blood cells (RBCs). A lower RBC count can impair the transfer of oxygen to the various tissues and organs within the body. Iron is also essential for healthy hair, skin, and nails.
Here are some of the greatest benefits of iron for skin, hair, and health that you should know:
Pale skin and dark circles are the most common signs of anemia caused due to iron deficiency. The lack of iron causes hemoglobin levels to decrease, resulting in the subsequent reduction of RBCs. The reduced oxygen flow can deprive your skin of its color, making it look sallow. A healthy dose of iron-rich foods in your daily diet can give your skin a pinkish glow.
Iron also plays an important role in speeding up the process of wound healing. It helps in the formation of RBCs, the most essential constituent of hemoglobin that transports oxygen around the body. Without the proper supply of oxygen (that also carries other nutrients), wound healing cannot take place. You know what to do about treating those painful wounds the next time!
A European Journal of Dermatology study found that women can experience excessive hair loss due to iron deficiency. The study reported that low iron stores increase the rate of hair fall, especially in non-menopausal women. Iron also helps improve hair texture and reduces dullness by increasing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the hair roots and scalp.
Iron acts as a carrier of oxygen in the body and transfers it to the muscles and the brain, thereby increasing both physical performance and mental alertness. Low levels of iron within the body can make you inattentive, irritable, and fatigued. As per a study conducted by the University of Melbourne, iron supplementation helps improve exercise performance in women.
For those concerned parents whose kids are small eaters, iron supplementation may help increase your child’s appetite. A study by The Journal of Nutrition performed on Kenyan primary school children found that iron supplementation increased appetite and growth in children.
Iron is also extremely important for improved muscle health. It aids in the production of myoglobin (a muscle protein) that carries oxygen from hemoglobin and stores it in the muscle cells. It thereby helps in the contraction of muscles.
New mothers must make sure that their kids have a diet rich in iron to ensure healthy brain development. As per a study by the Seminars in Pediatric Neurology, the cognitive, motor, social-emotional, and neurophysiological development in infants suffering from iron deficiency anemia is lower than those who are not. The study thus emphasizes the importance of preventing iron deficiency for improved brain health.
Doctors recommend pregnant women to increase their intake of iron from food sources or supplements. A Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews study reports that the prenatal supplementation of iron helps lower the risk of low birth weight and prevents maternal anemia during pregnancy. Pregnant women should take 27 milligrams of iron a day. Iron supplements are best absorbed when supplemented with foods rich in vitamin C, such as orange, grapefruit, and tomato juice.