Iron: Who Needs More, Who Needs Less, How and Why
In America iron deficiency is surprisingly common. However, it is mostly among children, teenage girls, women with excessive menstrual flow and the aged. Indeed among most mature healthy adults, especially men, iron EXCESS is the problem. This is because iron is a PRO-oxidant as compared to an anti-oxidant. Indeed, one reason to give blood is to LOWER your iron count as an anti-aging measure!
The very elderly tend to get anemic, as some common reasons are poor appetite, loss of taste/smell, difficulty preparing foods, poor digestion and poor dentition.
The best iron food group is meat. Animal heme-iron is much more absorbable than vegetable non-heme iron. (Heme means blood which is what helps makes red meat red.) Oysters, beef and chicken livers, beef kidney, shrimp, herring, sardines, tuna, dark turkey and red meat, in that order, are the best sources. Among the grains, bran flakes, wheat germ and bran and oats flakes are best. Pumpkin and almonds are the best nuts and seeds. Lima and pinto beans are quite high, as are spinach, parsley and peas. Apricots, figs, watermelon, raisins and prunes are the best fruits. Most vegetables are a poor source with carrots, asparagus and beets the best of the rest of the group. Brewer’s yeast and blackstrap molasses are old standbys for vegetarians.
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