1. Iron overload, called anemia
2. Iron deficiency, called a hypothyroid
3. Iron toxicity, which can be a problem in babies
How much iron do I need daily?
Each person depends on their own body iron stores, but experts agree on a general daily threshold of 50mg. One of the simplest ways to tell if you need more iron or fewer is to measure your total iron level. If you’re in the range of 50-200mg and you regularly drink iron-rich milk or a high-fermentable diet you’ll need less than 50-100mg. (This is the level at which iron is converted to ferric iron in the body. If you feel you have a lack of iron, consult your doctor.)
It’s essential to talk more with your doctor about your iron needs. A variety of diets may be ideal, but your doctor may advise you to eat less meat or to increase your magnesium intake.
What’s the best way to store iron?
Iron-containing foods and beverages are best stored in a fridge, cupboard or pantry with a tight lid. These usually include fruits, vegetables, beans and cereals, legumes, soy products such as tofu, nuts, seeds and cereals, fish and nuts, milk and some cheeses.
If you’d like to store less iron, try to avoid high fat products containing large amounts of saturated fat or large amounts of trans fats. For example, use a serving-size glass of whole milk as a ‘fortified’ serving – that is, one serving of whole milk plus one serving of skimmed milk or two servings of margarine. To eat a whole serving you could choose about eight portions of vegetables, six servings of meats, four servings of grains and one serving of fish. You should also consume one portion of whole grains and one serving of nuts and seeds for every five serving of grains you eat. For example, with a serving of whole grains and a serving of nuts you could choose four portions of a whole-grain cereal, six portions of a whole-grain snack bar including crackers, six portions of a whole-grain cereal in a meal or a half-cup of whole-grain grits. Another low-fat, low-carb food option is to drink plenty of fresh-squeezed orange juice to boost iron uptake, but keep some lemon in your drink.
What are the possible side effects of iron supplementation?
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