Oxygen thanks to iron

Why is iron so important?

Iron supplies mother and child with vital oxygen. A major part of iron is constantly transporting oxygen from the lungs into the blood and to all other organs, notably to the brain. During her pregnancy, the mother supplies the baby with iron stores for the first four months of life. Only then can a newborn baby produce iron independently.

Over the course of a pregnancy, the iron requirement will double. A sufficient intake is particularly important towards the end, when the baby is growing rapidly. A proper amount of ireon is thus the perfect start in life.

One glance at a mother’s records provides information about the mother’s iron supply. What counts is the haemoglobin level, the content of red blood pigment. If the level is higher than 12 g/dl (g%), the iron supply is good. A level below 12 g/dl(g%) is considered critical.

Good sources of iron

Iron is not always iron. It is contained in vegetable and animal source foods. The body can cope better with animal source iron, as iron from non-meat sources is more difficult to absorb. That is why vegetarians often have problems with their iron supply. But there are ways and means to boost your iron level – vitamin C helps your body absorb more iron. To get the most from your food, it makes sense to combine iron-rich cereals with sources of vitamin C, like some fruit or fruit juice. That is why adding a dash of lemon juice to salad dressings, or fruit to muesli makes good sense.

However, iron has enemies too – tannin blocks the iron intake and is contained in black tea, coffee and red wine.

Pulses, oat flakes and meat are rich in iron. A lot of valuable iron can also be found in apricots.

The myth about spinach is no longer as popular as it was. It used to be believed that spinach was extremely rich in iron. Today, we know that spinach is a rich source of iron, but not to the extent that was once assumed. One hundred grams contain approx. 3-4mg of iron.

Deficiency symptoms

A lack of iron has consequences. Symptoms range from tiredness and headache to sleeping disorders and nausea. In extreme cases, anaemia (lack of blood) may occur.