The best food sources of iron are wholegrain cereals, pulses and legumes, and fish. The best plant sources include green leafy vegetables, dry lotus stems, cauliflower greens, and turnip greens. Also fruits such as black currants, water melons, raisins, and dried dates are rich in iron.
Enzymes and hydrochloric acid in the stomach are needed for proper assimilation of iron. Older people are often anemic in spite of plenty of iron in their diet because they lack sufficient hydrochloric acid in their stomach. For these reasons, iron-containing fruits which possess their own enzymes and acids needed for iron digestion and assimilation are the most reliable sources of dietary iron.
What Are The Major Functions Of Iron In The Body?
Iron is essential for life. It is necessary for the production of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is composed of four iron-containing heme groups. The heme is responsible for the characteristic color and the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. Iron thus enables the blood to carry oxygen throughout the body and is of great value in helping to remove carbon dioxide from the tissues.
Myoglobin (an oxygen-carrying protein containing iron) in the muscle tissue is related to blood hemoglobin in both structure and function. It supplies oxygen to the muscles and removes carbon dioxide. Iron increases resistance to stress and disease. It aids growth and prevents fatigue.