Iron – Dietary Mineral

Iron is one of the most significant trace mineral which is required for most living organisms in the world. Iron based proteins are found in all living beings. We get the color of the blood because of haemoglobin which is an iron based protein (which also carries oxygen to all parts of our body). Iron is also a part of numerous enzymes like catalase and lipoxygenases.

Iron – Dietary Sources

Jaggery a rich source of IronLentils, beans, legumes, green leafy vegetables, tofu, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, molasses, dates and jaggery are very good source of Phosphorous. Red meat is also a good source of iron and is often said to be absorbed faster than plant sources, However many studies have proved (beyond any doubt) that the iron present in red meat can cause colon and rectal cancers on prolonged consumption.


Biological Functions of Iron

Iron is an important trace mineral with lot of important bio-activities. It plays numerous roles in every living organisms from bacteria to humans. The important biological functions of iron are:

  • It helps in the formation of iron based proteins like hemoglobin, myoglobin, cytochrome, ferritin and rubredoxin
  • Integral part of many enzymes
  • Acts as electron carrier and aids in redox reactions

Iron – Deficiency

Iron deficiency can happen due to various reasons like insufficient dietary intake, or consumption of inhibitors like tannins (a chemical present in tea and few other beverages) or issues with the lining of the intestine and blood loss. Anemia is the most common diseases caused because of iron deficiency.

Iron – Requirements and supplements

On an average for a normal individual the daily requirement of iron is close to18 mg/day. However the problem is dietary sources of Iron have different properties, the heme-form of iron from red meat is readily available and easily absorbed by the body, whereas iron from the plant sources are not completely absorbed. The daily intake varies a great deal from children to adults. Hence specifying a daily required intake can be misleading and dangerours. It is dangerous because more than iron deficiency human body is severely affected by iron overloading.Iron overloading can prove fatal in kids. Large amounts of Iron can damage liver and heart severely and can spoil the entire metabolic balance in the body. If children consumes iron supplements meant for adults then it may lead to iron intoxication and intestinal damages and can prove fatal in some cases. We always recommend natural sources (especially vegetable sources)of nutrients, when it comes iron, it is very important to have foods rich in iron instead of going for iron supplements.

Our simple advice here is to go for Jaggery instead of refined sugar, and all your daily iron needs will be taken care of without any risk of iron overdose.

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Jaggery – Important Features :

  • Jaggery is a rich source of iron
  • It contains many minerals not found in regular refined sugar and it is recommended in medical systems like Siddha and Ayurveda.
  • Jaggery is used as an ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes